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Title: The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Volume 5 (of 8)
Author: Wordsworth, William
Language: English
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    VOL. V

[Illustration: _William Wordsworth_

_after Margaret Gillies_

_Printed by Wittmann Paris_]






    VOL. V



_All rights reserved_


        PREFACE TO THE EDITION OF 1814               20
        BOOK FIRST--THE WANDERER                     26
        BOOK SECOND--THE SOLITARY                    67
        BOOK THIRD--DESPONDENCY                     105
        BOOK FIFTH--THE PASTOR                      195
            THE MOUNTAINS                           235
            THE MOUNTAINS--_Continued_              283
        BOOK EIGHTH--THE PARSONAGE                  326
            AND AN EVENING VISIT TO THE LAKE        352
        NOTES                                       383


    NOTE A                                          391
    NOTE B                                          392
    NOTE C                                          393
    NOTE D                                          396
    NOTE E                                          398



Composed 1795-1814.--Published 1814

[Something must now be said of this poem, but chiefly, as has been done
through the whole of these notes, with reference to my personal friends,
and especially to her who has perseveringly taken them down from my
dictation. Towards the close of the first book, stand the lines that were
first written,--beginning "Nine tedious years," and ending "Last human
tenant of these ruined walls." These were composed in 1795, at Racedown;
and for several passages describing the employment and demeanour of
Margaret during her affliction, I was indebted to observations made
in Dorsetshire, and afterwards at Alfoxden, in Somersetshire, where
I resided in 1797 and 1798. The lines towards the conclusion of the
fourth book, "Despondency corrected,"--beginning "For the man who in
this spirit," to the words "intellectual soul,"--were in order of time
composed the next, either at Racedown or Alfoxden, I do not remember
which. The rest of the poem was written in the vale of Grasmere, chiefly
during our residence at Allan Bank. The long poem on my own education
was, together with many minor poems, composed while we lived at the
cottage at Town-end. Perhaps my purpose of giving an additional interest
to these my poems, in the eyes of my nearest and dearest friends, may be
promoted by saying a few words upon the character of the Wanderer, the
Solitary, and the Pastor, and some other of the persons introduced. And
first of the principal one, the Wanderer.

My lamented friend Southey (for this is written a month after his
decease[A]) used to say that had he been born a Papist, the course of
life which would in all probability have been his, was the one for which
he was most fitted and most to his mind, that of a Benedictine monk, in
a convent, furnished, as many once were, and some still are, with an
inexhaustible library. _Books_, as appears from many passages in his
writings, and was evident to those who had opportunities of observing his
daily life, were in fact _his passion_; and _wandering_, I can with truth
affirm, was _mine_; but this propensity in me was happily counteracted by
inability from want of fortune to fulfil my wishes.

But had I been born in a class which would have deprived me of what is
called a liberal education, it is not unlikely that, being strong in
body, I should have taken to a way of life such as that in which my
Pedlar passed the greater part of his days. At all events, I am here
called upon freely to acknowledge that the character I have represented
in his person is chiefly an idea of what I fancied my own character might
have become in his circumstances. Nevertheless much of what he says and
does had an external existence, that fell under my own youthful and
subsequent observation.

An individual, named Patrick, by birth and education a Scotchman,
followed this humble occupation for many years, and afterwards settled
in the town of Kendal.[B] He married a kinswoman of my wife's, and her
sister Sarah was brought up from her ninth year under this good man's
roof.[C] My own imaginations I was happy to find clothed in reality,
and fresh ones suggested, by what she reported of this man's tenderness
of heart, his strong and pure imagination, and his solid attainments in
literature, chiefly religious, whether in prose or verse. At Hawkshead
also, while I was a schoolboy, there occasionally resided a Packman
(the name then generally given to persons of this calling), with whom
I had frequent conversations upon what had befallen him, and what he
had observed, during his wandering life; and, as was natural, we took
much to each other; and, upon the subject of _Pedlarism_ in general, as
_then_ followed, and its favourableness to an intimate knowledge of human
concerns, not merely among the humbler classes of society, I need say
nothing here in addition to what is to be found in _The Excursion_, and a
note attached to it.

Now for the Solitary. Of him I have much less to say. Not long after we
took up our abode at Grasmere, came to reside there, from what motive
I either never knew or have forgotten, a Scotchman, a little past the
middle of life, who had for many years been chaplain to a Highland
regiment. He was in no respect, as far as I know, an interesting
character, though in his appearance there was a good deal that attracted
attention, as if he had been shattered in fortune, and not happy in mind.
Of his quondam position I availed myself to connect with the Wanderer,
also a Scotchman, a character suitable to my purpose, the elements of
which I drew from several persons with whom I had been connected, and
who fell under my observation during frequent residences in London at
the beginning of the French Revolution. The chief of these was, one may
now say, a Mr. Fawcett, a preacher at a Dissenting meeting-house at the
Old Jewry. It happened to me several times to be one of his congregation
through my connection with Mr. Nicholson of Cateaton Street, Strand,
who, at a time when I had not many acquaintances in London, used often
to invite me to dine with him on Sundays; and I took that opportunity
(Mr. N. being a Dissenter) of going to hear Fawcett, who was an able and
eloquent man. He published a poem on War, which had a good deal of merit,
and made me think more about him than I should otherwise have done.
But his Christianity was probably never very deeply rooted; and, like
many others in those times of like shewy talents, he had not strength
of character to withstand the effects of the French Revolution, and of
the wild and lax opinions which had done so much towards producing it,
and far more in carrying it forward in its extremes. Poor Fawcett, I
have been told, became pretty much such a person as I have described,
and early disappeared from the stage, having fallen into habits of
intemperance, which I have heard (though I will not answer for the fact)
hastened his death. Of him I need say no more. There were many like him
at that time, which the world will never be without, but which were more
numerous then, for reasons too obvious to be dwelt upon.

To what is said of the Pastor in the poem, I have little to add but what
may be deemed superfluous. It has ever appeared to me highly favourable
to the beneficial influence of the Church of England upon all gradations
and classes of society, that the patronage of its benefices is in
numerous instances attached to the estates of noble families of ancient
gentry; and accordingly I am gratified by the opportunity afforded me in
_The Excursion_, to pourtray the character of a country clergyman of more
than ordinary talents, born and bred in the upper ranks of society so
as to partake of their refinements, and at the same time brought by his
pastoral office and his love of rural life into intimate connection with
the peasantry of his native district.

To illustrate the relation which in my mind this Pastor bore to the
Wanderer, and the resemblances between them, or rather the points of
community in their nature, I likened one to an oak, and the other to a
sycamore; and having here referred to this comparison, I need only add, I
had no one individual in my mind, wishing rather to embody this idea than
to break in upon the simplicity of it by traits of individual character,
or of any peculiarity of opinion.

And now for a few words upon the scene where these interviews and
conversations are supposed to occur.

The scene of the first book of the poem is, I must own, laid in a
tract of country not sufficiently near to that which soon comes into
view in the second book, to agree with the fact. All that relates to
Margaret, and the ruined cottage, etc., was taken from observations
made in the south-west of England, and certainly it would require more
than seven-league boots to stretch in one morning, from a common in
Somersetshire, or Dorsetshire, to the heights of Furness Fells, and the
deep valleys they embosom. For thus dealing with space, I need make, I
trust, no apology; but my friends may be amused by the truth.

In the poem, I suppose that the Pedlar and I ascended from a plain
country up the vale of Langdale, and struck off a good way above the
chapel to the western side of the vale. We ascended the hill, and thence
looked down upon the circular recess in which lies Blea Tarn, chosen by
the Solitary for his retreat. After we quit his cottage, passing over
a low ridge, we descend into another vale, that of Little Langdale,
towards the head of which stands embowered, or partly shaded by yews and
other trees, something between a cottage and a mansion, or gentleman's
house, such as they once were in this country. This I convert into the
parsonage, and at the same time, and as by the waving of a magic wand, I
turn the comparatively confined vale of Langdale, its tarn, and the rude
chapel which once adorned the valley, into the stately and comparatively
spacious vale of Grasmere and its ancient parish church; and upon the
side of Loughrigg Fell, at the foot of the lake, and looking down upon it
and the whole Vale and its encompassing mountains, the Pastor is supposed
by me to stand, when at sunset he addresses his companions in words
which I hope my readers will remember,[D] or I should not have taken
the trouble of giving so much in detail the materials on which my mind
actually worked.

Now for a few particulars of _fact_, respecting the persons whose stories
are told or characters described by the different speakers. To Margaret I
have already alluded. I will add here that the lines beginning,

    She was a woman of a steady mind,

and ending

    Live on earth a life of happiness,

faithfully delineate, as far as they go, the character possessed in
common by many women whom it has been my happiness to know in humble
life; and that several of the most touching things which she is
represented as saying and doing are taken from actual observation of the
distresses and trials under which different persons were suffering, some
of them strangers to me, and others daily under my notice.

I was born too late to have a distinct remembrance of the origin of the
American war; but the state in which I represent Robert's mind to be,
I had frequent opportunities of observing at the commencement of our
rupture with France in 1793; opportunities of which I availed myself
in the story of the Female Vagrant, as told in the poem on _Guilt and
Sorrow_. The account given by the Solitary, towards the close of the
second book, in all that belongs to the character of the old man, was
taken from a Grasmere pauper, who was boarded in the last house quitting
the vale on the road to Ambleside; the character of his hostess, and all
that befell the poor man upon the mountain, belongs to Paterdale. The
woman I knew well; her name was Ruth Jackson, and she was exactly such a
person as I describe. The ruins of the old chapel, among which the old
man was found lying, may yet be traced, and stood upon the ridge that
divides Paterdale from Boardale and Martindale, having been placed there
for the convenience of both districts. The glorious appearance disclosed
above and among the mountains, was described partly from what my friend
Mr. Luff, who then lived in Paterdale, witnessed upon that melancholy
occasion, and partly from what Mary and I had seen, in company with Sir
George and Lady Beaumont, above Hartshope Hall, on our way from Paterdale
to Ambleside.

And now for a few words upon the Church, its Monuments, and of the
Deceased who are spoken of as lying in the surrounding churchyard. But
first for the one picture given by the Pastor and the Wanderer of the
Living. In this nothing is introduced but what was taken from nature and
real life. The cottage was called Hackett, and stands, as described, on
the southern extremity of the ridge which separates the two Langdales.
The pair who inhabited it were called Jonathan and Betty Yewdale. Once
when our children were ill, of whooping-cough, I think, we took them
for change of air to this cottage, and were in the habit of going there
to drink tea upon fine summer afternoons, so that we became intimately
acquainted with the characters, habits, and lives of these good, and let
me say, in the main, wise people. The matron had, in her early youth,
been a servant in a house at Hawkshead, where several boys boarded,
while I was a schoolboy there. I did not remember her as having served
in that capacity; but we had many little anecdotes to tell to each other
of remarkable boys, incidents, and adventures, which had made a noise in
their day in that small town. These two persons were induced afterwards
to settle at Rydal, where they both died.

The church, as already noticed, is that of Grasmere. The interior of
it has been improved lately and made warmer by underdrawing the roof,
and raising the floor; but the rude and antique majesty of its former
appearance has been impaired by painting the rafters; and the oak
benches, with a simple rail at the back dividing them from each other,
have given way to seats that have more the appearance of pews. It is
remarkable that, excepting only the pew belonging to Rydal Hall, that to
Rydal Mount, the one to the Parsonage, and I believe another, the men and
women still continue, as used to be the custom in Wales, to sit separate
from each other. Is this practice as old as the Reformation? and when and
how did it originate? In the Jewish synagogues, and in Lady Huntingdon's
chapels, the sexes are divided in the same way. In the adjoining
churchyard greater changes have taken place. It is now not a little
crowded with tombstones; and near the school-house, which stands in the
churchyard, is an ugly structure, built to receive the hearse, which is
recently come into use. It would not be worth while to allude to this
building, or the hearse-vehicle it contains, but that the latter has
been the means of introducing a change much to be lamented in the mode
of conducting funerals among the mountains. Now, the coffin is lodged
in the hearse at the door of the house of the deceased, and the corpse
is so conveyed to the churchyard gate. All the solemnity which formerly
attended its progress, as described in this poem, is put an end to. So
much do I regret this, that I beg to be excused for giving utterance here
to a wish that, should it befall me to die at Rydal Mount, my own body
may be carried to Grasmere Church after the manner in which, till lately,
that of every one was borne to the place of sepulture here, namely, on
the shoulders of neighbours; no house being passed without some words of
a funeral psalm being sung at the time by the attendants bearing it. When
I put into the mouth of the Wanderer, "Many precious rites and customs of
our rural ancestry are gone, or stealing from us; this, I hope, will last
for ever," and what follows, little did I foresee that the observance and
mode of proceeding which had often affected me so much would so soon be

Having said much of the injury done to this churchyard, let me add, that
one is at liberty to look forward to a time when, by the growth of the
yew-trees thriving there, a solemnity will be spread over the place that
will in some degree make amends for the old simple character which has
already been so much encroached upon, and will be still more every year.
I will here set down, by way of memorial, that my friend Sir George
Beaumont, having long ago purchased the beautiful piece of water called
Loughrigg Tarn, on the banks of which he intended to build, I told him
that a person in Kendal who was attached to the place wished to purchase
it. Sir George, finding the possession of no use to him, consented
to part with it, and placed the purchase-money--£20--at my disposal,
for any local use which I thought proper. Accordingly, I resolved to
plant yew-trees in the churchyard; and had four pretty strong large oak
enclosures made, in each of which was planted, under my own eye, and
principally if not entirely by my own hand, two young trees, with the
intention of leaving the one that throve best to stand. Many years after,
Mr. Barber, who will long be remembered in Grasmere, Mr. Greenwood (the
chief landed proprietor), and myself, had four other enclosures made in
the churchyard at our own expense, in each of which was planted a tree
taken from its neighbour, and they all stand thriving admirably, the
fences having been removed as no longer necessary. May the trees be taken
care of hereafter, when we are all gone; and some of them will perhaps,
at some far-distant time, rival in majesty the yew of Lorton, and those
which I have described as growing at Borrowdale, where they are still to
be seen[E] in grand assemblage.

And now for the persons that are selected as lying in the churchyard. But
first for the individual whose grave is prepared to receive him.

His story is here truly related. He was a schoolfellow of mine for some
years. He came to us when he was at least seventeen years of age, very
tall, robust, and full grown. This prevented him from falling into the
amusements and games of the school; consequently, he gave more time to
books. He was not remarkably bright or quick, but by industry, he made
a progress more than respectable. His parents not being wealthy enough
to send him to college when he left Hawkshead, he became a schoolmaster,
with a view to prepare himself for holy orders. About this time he
fell in love, as related in the poem, and everything followed as there
described, except that I do not know exactly when and where he died.
The number of youths that came to Hawkshead School from the families of
the humble yeomanry, to be educated to a certain degree of scholarship,
as a preparation for the church, was considerable, and the fortunes of
those persons in after life various of course, and some not a little
remarkable. I have now one of this class in my eye who became an usher in
a preparatory school, and ended in making a large fortune. His manners,
when he came to Hawkshead, were as uncouth as well could be; but he had
good abilities, with skill to turn them to account; and when the master
of the school, to which he was usher, died, he stept into his place and
became proprietor of the establishment. He contrived to manage it with
such address, and so much to the taste of what is called high society and
the fashionable world, that no school of the kind, even till he retired,
was in such high request. Ministers of State, the wealthiest gentry,
and nobility of the first rank, vied with each other in bespeaking a
place for their sons in the seminary of this fortunate teacher.[F] In
the solitude of Grasmere, while living as a married man in a cottage
of £8 per annum rent, I often used to smile at the tales which reached
me of the brilliant career of this quondam clown--for such in reality
he was, in manners, and appearance, before he was polished a little by
attrition with gentlemen's sons trained at Hawkshead, rough and rude as
many of our juveniles were. Not 200 yards from the cottage in Grasmere
just mentioned, to which I retired, this gentleman, who many years
afterwards purchased a small estate in the neighbourhood, is now erecting
a boat-house, with an upper story to be resorted to as an entertaining
room when he and his associates may feel inclined to take their pastime
on the lake. Every passenger will be disgusted with the sight of this
edifice, not merely as a tasteless thing in itself, but as utterly out of
place, and peculiarly fitted, as far as it is observed (and it obtrudes
itself on notice at every point of view), to mar the beauty and destroy
the pastoral simplicity of the vale. For my own part, and that of my
household, it is our utter detestation, standing by a shore to which,
before the high road was made to pass that way, we used daily and hourly
to repair for seclusion and for the shelter of a grove, under which I
composed many of my poems--_The Brothers_ especially; and for this reason
we gave the grove that name.

            That which each man loved
    And prized in his peculiar nook of earth
    Dies with him, or is changed.

So much for my old schoolfellow and his exploits. I will only add
that, as the foundation has twice failed, from the Lake no doubt being
intolerant of the intrusion, there is some ground for hoping that the
impertinent structure will not stand. It has been rebuilt in somewhat
better taste, and much as one wishes it away, it is not now so very
unsightly. The structure is an emblem of the man. Perseverance has
conquered difficulties, and given something of form and polish to

The Miner, next described as having found his treasure after twice ten
years of labour, lived in Paterdale, and the story is true to the
letter. It seems to me, however, rather remarkable, that the strength of
mind which had supported him through his long unrewarded labour, did not
enable him to bear its successful issue. Several times in the course of
my life I have heard of sudden influxes of great wealth being followed
by derangement; and, in one instance, the shock of good fortune was
so great as to produce absolute idiotcy. But these all happened where
there had been little or no previous effort to acquire the riches, and
therefore such a consequence might the more naturally be expected, than
in the case of the solitary miner. In reviewing his story, one cannot but
regret that such perseverance was not sustained by a worthier object.
Archimedes leaped out of his bath and ran about the streets, proclaiming
his discovery in a transport of joy; but we are not told that he lost
either his life or his senses in consequence.

The next character, to whom the priest is led by contrast with the
resoluteness displayed by the foregoing, is taken from a person born and
bred in Grasmere, by name Dawson; and whose talents, dispositions, and
way of life, were such as are here delineated. I did not know him, but
all was fresh in memory when we settled at Grasmere in the beginning of
the century. From this point the conversation leads to the mention of two
individuals, who, by their several fortunes, were, at different times,
driven to take refuge at the small and obscure town of Hawkshead on the
skirt of these mountains. Their stories I had from the dear old dame with
whom, as a schoolboy, and afterwards, I lodged for nearly the space of
ten years. The elder, the Jacobite, was named Drummond, and was of a high
family in Scotland; the Hanoverian Whig bore the name of Vandeput, and
might, perhaps, be a descendant of some Dutchman who had come over in the
train of King William. At all events, his zeal was such, that he ruined
himself by a contest for the representation of London or Westminster,
undertaken to support his Party, and retired to this corner of the
world, selected (as it had been by Drummond) for that obscurity which,
since visiting the Lakes became fashionable, it has no longer retained.
So much was this region considered out of the way till a late period,
that persons who had fled from justice used often to resort hither for
concealment, and some were so bold as to not unfrequently make excursions
from the place of their retreat for the purpose of committing fresh
offences. Such was particularly the case with two brothers of the name of
Weston, who took up their abode at Old Brathay, I think about seventy
years ago. They were highwaymen, and lived there some time without being
discovered, though it was known that they often disappeared, in a way,
and upon errands, which could not be accounted for. Their horses were
noticed as being of a choice breed, and I have heard from the Relph
family, one of whom was a saddler in the town of Kendal, that they were
curious in their saddles, and housings, and accoutrements of their
horses. They, as I have heard, and as was universally believed, were, in
the end, both taken and hanged.

    Tall was her stature; her complexion dark
    And saturnine.

This person lived at Town-end, and was almost our next neighbour. I have
little to notice concerning her beyond what is said in the poem. She
was a most striking instance how far a woman may surpass in talent, in
knowledge, and culture of mind, those with and among whom she lives,
and yet fall below them in Christian virtues of the heart and spirit.
It seemed almost, and I say it with grief, that in proportion as she
excelled in the one, she failed in the other. How frequently has one
to observe in both sexes the same thing, and how mortifying is the

    As, on a sunny bank, a tender lamb
    Lurks in safe shelter from the winds of March.

The story that follows was told to Mrs. Wordsworth and my sister, by
the sister of this unhappy young woman. Every particular was exactly
as I have related. The party was not known to me, though she lived at
Hawkshead; but it was after I left school. The clergyman who administered
comfort to her in her distress I knew well. Her sister, who told the
story, was the wife of a leading yeoman in the vale of Grasmere, and
they were an affectionate pair, and greatly respected by every one
who knew them. Neither lived to be old; and their estate--which was,
perhaps, the most considerable then in the vale, and was endeared to
them by many remembrances of a salutary character, not easily understood
or sympathised with by those who are born to great affluence--passed to
their eldest son, according to the practice of these vales, who died soon
after he came into possession. He was an amiable and promising youth,
but was succeeded by an only brother, a good-natured man, who fell into
habits of drinking, by which he gradually reduced his property; and the
other day the last acre of it was sold, and his wife and children, and
he himself still surviving, have very little left to live upon; which
it would not, perhaps, have been worth while to record here, but that
through all trials this woman has proved a model of patience, meekness,
affectionate forbearance, and forgiveness. Their eldest son, who through
the vices of his father has thus been robbed of an ancient family
inheritance, was never heard to murmur or complain against the cause
of their distress, and is now (1843) deservedly the chief prop of his
mother's hopes.

The Clergyman and his family described at the beginning of the seventh
book were, during many years, our principal associates in the vale of
Grasmere, unless I were to except our very nearest neighbours. I have
entered so particularly into the main points of their history, that I
will barely testify in prose that--with the single exception of the
particulars of their journey to Grasmere, which, however, was exactly
copied from real life in another instance--the whole that I have said
of them is as faithful to the truth as words can make it. There was
much talent in the family, and the eldest son was distinguished for
poetical talent, of which a specimen is given in my notes to the Sonnets
to the Duddon. Once, when in our cottage at Town-end I was talking with
him about poetry, in the course of our conversation I presumed to find
fault with the versification of Pope, of whom he was an enthusiastic
admirer. He defended him with a warmth that indicated much irritation;
nevertheless I would not abandon my point, and said, "In compass and
variety of sound your own versification surpasses his." Never shall
I forget the change in his countenance and tone of voice: the storm
was laid in a moment; he no longer disputed my judgment, and I passed
immediately in his mind, no doubt, for as great a critic as ever lived. I
ought to add, he was a clergyman and a well-educated man, and his verbal
memory was the most remarkable of any individual I have known, except a
Mr. Archer, an Irishman, who lived several years in this neighbourhood,
and who in this faculty was a prodigy: he afterwards became deranged, and
I fear continues so if alive.

Then follows the character of Robert Walker, for which see notes to the

That of the _Deaf Man_, whose epitaph may be seen in the churchyard at
the head of Hawes Water, and whose qualities of mind and heart, and
their benign influence in conjunction with his privation, I had from his
relatives on the spot.

The _Blind Man_, next commemorated, was John Gough, of Kendal, a man
known, far beyond his neighbourhood, for his talents and attainments in
natural history and science.

Of the _Infant's Grave_ next noticed, I will only say, it is an exact
picture of what fell under my own observation; and all persons who are
intimately acquainted with cottage life must often have observed like
instances of the working of the domestic affections.

    A volley thrice repeated o'er the corse
    Let down into the hollow of that grave.

This young volunteer bore the name of Dawson, and was younger brother,
if I am not mistaken, to the prodigal of whose character and fortunes
an account is given towards the beginning of the preceding book. The
father of the family I knew well; he was a man of literary education and
considerable experience in society--much beyond what was common among the
inhabitants of the Vale. He had lived a good while in the Highlands of
Scotland as a manager of ironworks at Bunaw, and had acted as clerk to
one of my predecessors in the office of Distributor of Stamps, when he
used to travel round the country collecting and bringing home the money
due to Government in gold, which it may be worth while to mention, for
the sake of my friends, was deposited in the cell or iron closet under
the west window, which still exists, with the iron doors that guarded the
property. This, of course, was before the time of Bills and Notes. The
two sons of this person had no doubt been led by the knowledge of their
father to take more delight in scholarship, and had been accustomed, in
their own minds, to take a wider view of social interests, than was usual
among their associates. The premature death of this gallant young man was
much lamented, and as an attendant upon the funeral, I myself witnessed
the ceremony, and the effect of it as described in the poems.

    ... Tradition tells
    That, in Eliza's golden days, a Knight
    Came on a war-horse....
    ... The house is gone.

The pillars of the gateway in front of the mansion remained when we
first took up our abode at Grasmere. Two or three cottages still remain
which are called Nott Houses, from the name of the gentleman (I have
called him a knight) concerning whom these traditions survive. He was
the ancestor of the Knott family, formerly considerable proprietors in
the district. What follows in the discourse of the Wanderer, upon the
changes he had witnessed in rural life by the introduction of machinery,
is truly described from what I myself saw during my boyhood and early
youth, and from what was often told me by persons of this humble calling.
Happily, most happily, for these mountains, the mischief was diverted
from the banks of their beautiful streams, and transferred to open and
flat counties abounding in coal, where the agency of steam was found
much more effectual for carrying on those demoralising works. Had it not
been for this invention, long before the present time, every torrent and
river in this district would have had its factory, large and populous
in proportion to the power of the water that could there be commanded.
Parliament has interfered to prevent the night-work which was once
carried on in these mills as actively as during the day-time, and by
necessity, still more perniciously; a sad disgrace to the proprietors and
to the nation which could so long tolerate such unnatural proceedings.

Reviewing, at this late period, 1843, what I put into the mouths of my
interlocutors a few years after the commencement of the century, I grieve
that so little progress has been made in diminishing the evils deplored,
or promoting the benefits of education which the Wanderer anticipates.
The results of Lord Ashley's labours to defer the time when children
might legally be allowed to work in factories, and his endeavours to
limit still further the hours of permitted labour, have fallen far
short of his own humane wishes, and of those of every benevolent and
right-minded man who has carefully attended to this subject; and in
the present session of Parliament (1843) Sir James Graham's attempt to
establish a course of religious education among the children employed
in factories has been abandoned, in consequence of what might easily be
foreseen, the vehement and turbulent opposition of the Dissenters; so
that for many years to come it may be thought expedient to leave the
religious instruction of children entirely in the hands of the several
denominations of Christians in the Island, each body to work according
to its own means and in its own way. Such is my own confidence, a
confidence I share with many others of my most valued friends, in the
superior advantages, both religious and social, which attend a course
of instruction presided over and guided by the clergy of the Church of
England, that I have no doubt, that if but once its members, lay and
clerical, were duly sensible of those benefits, their Church would
daily gain ground, and rapidly, upon every shape and fashion of Dissent;
and in that case, a great majority in Parliament being sensible of
these benefits, the Ministers of the country might be emboldened, were
it necessary, to apply funds of the State to the support of education
on church principles. Before I conclude, I cannot forbear noticing the
strenuous efforts made at this time in Parliament by so many persons
to extend manufacturing and commercial industry at the expense of
agricultural, though we have recently had abundant proofs that the
apprehensions expressed by the Wanderer were not groundless.

    I spake of mischief by the wise diffused,
    With gladness thinking that the more it spreads
    The healthier, the securer, we become;
    Delusion which a moment may destroy!

The Chartists are well aware of this possibility, and cling to it with
an ardour and perseverance which nothing, but wiser and more brotherly
dealing towards the many, on the part of the wealthy few, can moderate or

    While, from the grassy mountain's open side
    We gazed, in silence hushed.

The point here fixed upon in my imagination is half way up the northern
side of Loughrigg Fell, from which the Pastor and his companions are
supposed to look upwards to the sky and mountain-tops, and round the
vale, with the lake lying immediately beneath them.

    But turned, not without welcome promise given
    That he would share the pleasures and pursuits
    Of yet another summer's day, consumed
    In wandering with us.

When I reported this promise of the Solitary, and long after, it
was my wish, and I might say intention, that we should resume our
wanderings and pass the Borders into his native country, where, as I
hoped, he might witness, in the society of the Wanderer, some religious
ceremony--a sacrament say, in the open fields, or a preaching among
the mountains--which, by recalling to his mind the days of his early
childhood, when he had been present on such occasions in company with
his parents and nearest kindred, might have dissolved his heart into
tenderness, and so done more towards restoring the Christian faith in
which he had been educated, and, with that, contentedness and even
cheerfulness of mind, and all that the Wanderer and Pastor by their
several effusions and addresses had been unable to effect. An issue like
this was in my intentions. But alas!

    ----'mid the wreck of is and was,
    Things incomplete and purposes betrayed
    Make sadder transits o'er thought's optic glass
    Than noblest objects utterly decayed.[H]

    RYDAL MOUNT, _June 24, 1843_.
      St. John Baptist Day.--I. F.]

Although the Fenwick note to _The Excursion_ has been printed here in
full, extracts from it will be introduced as footnotes, in explanation of
certain passages of the poem. _The Excursion_ was written at intervals
between 1795 and 1814. The story of Margaret, in the first book, was
begun at Racedown in 1795, and continued at Alfoxden in 1797-8. But
only two short fragments of the poem--the former in book first and the
latter in book fourth (as indicated in the Fenwick note)--were written
before Wordsworth's arrival at Grasmere. There the poem was thought out,
arranged, written down, altered, and re-arranged; the first part during
his residence at Dove Cottage, the second and longer part at Allan Bank.
The following extracts from Miss Wordsworth's Grasmere Journal show how
laboriously her brother worked at this poem:--

Tuesday, Dec. 22, 1801.-- ... "Went to Rydal for letters. The road was
covered with snow. We walked home almost without speaking. William
composed a few lines of 'The Pedlar.' We talked about Lamb's tragedy."...

Wednesday, Dec. 23.-- ... "Mary wrote out the Tales from Chaucer for
Coleridge. William worked at 'The Ruined Cottage,' and made himself very

Tuesday, Jan. 26, 1802.-- ... "We sate till we were both tired, for
William wrote out part of his poem, and endeavoured to alter it, and so
made himself ill. I copied out the rest for him."...

Monday, Feb. 1st.-- ... "William worked hard at 'The Pedlar,' and tired

Tuesday, 2nd Feb.-- ... "William worked at 'The Pedlar.'"...

Thursday, 4th.-- ... "William thought a little about 'The Pedlar.'"

Friday, 5th.-- ... "Sate up late at 'The Pedlar.'"

Sunday, 7th.--"William had a bad night, and was working at his poem.
We sate by the fire, and did not walk, but read 'The Pedlar,' thinking
it done; but lo! ... could find fault with no one part of it--it was
uninteresting, and must be altered. Poor William!"

Wednesday, 10th Feb.--"We read the first part of the poem, and were
delighted with it, but William afterwards got to some ugly place, and
went to bed tired out." ...

Thursday, 11th.-- ... "William sadly tired, and working at 'The Pedlar.'"

Friday, 12th.-- ... "I re-copied 'The Pedlar'; but poor William all the
time at work.... We sate a long time with the window unclosed, and almost
finished writing 'The Pedlar,' but poor William wore himself out and me
with labour. Went to bed at 12 o'clock."

Saturday, 13th.--"It snowed a little. Still at work at 'The Pedlar,'
altering and re-fitting.... William read parts of his _Recluse_ aloud to

Sunday, 14th Feb.-- ... "William left me at work altering some passages
of 'The Pedlar,' and went into the orchard."

Sunday, Feb. 28.-- ... "William very ill; employed himself with 'The

Friday morning.-- ... "I wrote 'The Pedlar,' and finished it."...

These extracts--which will recall the laborious way in which he toiled
over the poem _Michael_ (see vol. ii. p. 233)--all refer to the close of
the year 1801, and the beginning of the year 1802. It is impossible to
find out, with exactness, what were the parts of _The Excursion_ which
were then so carefully written, and so fastidiously altered--since "The
Pedlar" was the Wordsworth household name for the entire poem, until
it was recast for publication, at Allan Bank. But after February 1802
he turned to other subjects of composition, chiefly lyrical, and laid
aside "The Pedlar" for a time--his sister, at least, regarding it as
"finished." What was completed, however, did not, probably, extend beyond
the story of the Wanderer, and perhaps a part of that of the Solitary.
The person, whose character gave rise to the Solitary, came to reside
at Grasmere not long after the Wordsworths settled there; but as the
Fenwick note expressly says that the poem was written "_chiefly_ during
our residence at Allan Bank," I do not think that more than the first two
books belong to the Town-end period.

_The Excursion_ was originally published in quarto in 1814. The second
edition, octavo, appeared in 1820.[I]

_The Excursion_ was included in all the collected editions of 1827,
1832, 1836-7, 1840, 1845, 1849-50, in the Paris reprint of 1828, and in
the American edition by Henry Reed. It was also republished by itself
in 1836, 1844, and 1847. The textual changes in the several editions
were numerous and significant. The longest and most important passage in
the earlier ones, omitted after 1820, occurs at the close of the sixth
book. Another (shorter) fragment, near the beginning of book seventh,
refers to the Sympson household at the Wytheburn parsonage. No edition
of _The Excursion_ has as yet been issued with adequate notes, either
topographical or literary. The first book--"The Wanderer"--has, however,
been annotated, both by Mr. H. H. Turner (published in Rivington's
English School Classics), and also by the Rev. H. G. Robinson, Prebendary
of York, and published at Edinburgh, by Messrs. Oliver and Boyd.

The following letter from Charles Lamb to Wordsworth, after his first
perusal of _The Excursion_ has special interest:--

_August 14, 1814._

"DEAR WORDSWORTH--I cannot tell you how pleased I was at the receipt of
the great armful of poetry which you have sent me; and to get it before
the rest of the world too! I have gone quite through with it, and was
thinking to have accomplished that pleasure a second time before I wrote
to thank you, but M. Burney came in the night (while we were out) and
made holy theft of it, but we expect restitution in a day or two. It is
the noblest conversational poem I ever read--a day in Heaven. The part
(or rather main body) which has left the sweetest odour on my memory (a
bad term for the remains of an impression so recent) is the Tales of the
Churchyard; the only girl among seven brethren, born out of due time, and
not duly taken away again,--the deaf man and the blind man; the Jacobite
and the Hanoverian, whom antipathies reconcile; the Scarron-entry of
the rusticating parson upon his solitude;--these were all new to me
too. My having known the story of Margaret (at the beginning), a very
old acquaintance, even as long back as when I saw you first at Stowey,
did not make her reappearance less fresh. I don't know what to pick out
of this best of books upon the best subjects for partial naming. That
gorgeous sunset[J] is famous; I think it must have been the identical one
we saw on Salisbury Plain five years ago, that drew Phillips from the
card-table, where he had sat from rise of that luminary to its unequalled
set; but neither he nor I had gifted eyes to see those symbols of common
things glorified, such as the prophets saw them in that sunset--the
wheel, the potter's clay, the wash-pot, the wine-press, the almond-tree
rod, the basket of figs, the fourfold visaged head, the throne, and Him
that sat thereon. One feeling I was particularly struck with, as what
I recognised so very lately at Harrow Church on entering in it after a
hot and secular day's pleasure, the instantaneous coolness and calming,
almost transforming properties of a country church just entered; a
certain fragrance which it has, either from its holiness, or being kept
shut all the week, or the air that is let in being pure country, exactly
what you have reduced into words; but I am feeling that which I can-not
express. Reading your lines about it fixed me for a time, a monument in
Harrow Church. Do you know it? with its fine long spire, white as washed
marble, to be seen, by vantage of its high site, as far as Salisbury
spire itself almost."

In a letter written in the same year, 1814, Lamb tells Wordsworth of the
spurious review of _The Excursion_, in _The Quarterly Review_, "which Mr.
Baviad Gifford has palmed upon it for mine," calls his own review "the
prettiest piece of prose I ever writ," and gives a specimen of it, viz.--

"The poet of the _Excursion_ 'walks through common forests as through
some Dodona or enchanted wood, and every casual bird that flits upon the
boughs, like that miraculous one in Tasso, but in language more piercing
than any articulate sounds, reveals to him far higher love-lays.'" (_The
Letters of Charles Lamb_, edited by Alfred Ainger, vol. i. pp. 271-281.)

In the Notes to the text I have confined myself chiefly to the
explanation of obscure allusions, topographical, historical, or


[Footnote A: Southey died on the 21st of March, 1843.--ED.]

[Footnote B: See the Appendix to this volume, Note A, p. 391.--ED.]

[Footnote C: "Sarah went to Kendal on our mother's death, but Mr. P. died
in the course of a year or two.--M. W." Pencilled on the opposite page of
the MS.--ED.]

[Footnote D: See _The Excursion_, book ix. l. 614.--ED.]

[Footnote E: Alas! no longer as they were in Wordsworth's time. See the
note to _Yew-Trees_, vol. ii. p. 371.--ED.]

[Footnote F: "Mr. Pearson." Pencilled on the opposite page of the

[Footnote G: Pencilled on the opposite page of the MS.--"This boathouse,
badly built, gave way, and was rebuilt. It again tumbled, and was a third
time reconstructed, but in a better fashion than before. It is not now,
_per se_, an ugly building, however obtrusive it may be."--ED.]

[Footnote H: Compare the sonnet _Malham Cove_ in volume vi., to which
these lines belong.--ED.]

[Footnote I: The following note from Wordsworth to Mr. Dyce, shews his
estimation of the text of the first octavo edition, as compared with that
of the earlier quarto edition.

"MY DEAR SIR,--When you read _The Excursion_ do not read the quarto. It
is improved in the 8vo E.:--but I thought the quarto might have its value
with you as a collector.--Believe me, faithfully yours,

    7th April, my birthday--61,
    12 Bryanston Street.

In 1820 there are very few departures from the text of 1814.--ED.]

[Footnote J: In a subsequent letter (August 29th) he corrects this, and
calls it "that celestial splendour of the mist going off."--ED.]


    Oft, through thy fair domains,[K] illustrious Peer!
    In youth I roamed, on youthful pleasures bent;
    And mused in rocky cell or sylvan tent,
    Beside swift-flowing Lowther's current clear.[L]
    --Now, by thy care befriended, I appear
    Before thee, LONSDALE, and this Work present,
    A token (may it prove a monument!)
    Of high respect and gratitude sincere.
    Gladly would I have waited till my task
    Had reached its close; but Life is insecure,
    And Hope full oft fallacious as a dream:
    Therefore, for what is here produced, I ask
    Thy favour; trusting that thou wilt not deem
    The offering, though imperfect, premature.


    _July_ 29, 1814.


The Title-page announces that this is only a portion of a poem; and the
Reader must be here apprised that it belongs to the second part of a
long and laborious Work, which is to consist of three parts.--The Author
will candidly acknowledge that, if the first of these had been completed,
and in such a manner as to satisfy his own mind, he should have preferred
the natural order of publication, and have given that to the world first;
but, as the second division of the Work was designed to refer more to
passing events, and to an existing state of things, than the others were
meant to do, more continuous exertion was naturally bestowed upon it, and
greater progress made here than in the rest of the poem; and as this part
does not depend upon the preceding, to a degree which will materially
injure its own peculiar interest, the Author, complying with the earnest
entreaties of some valued Friends, presents the following pages to the

It may be proper to state whence the poem, of which _The Excursion_ is
a part, derives its Title of THE RECLUSE.--Several years ago, when the
Author retired to his native mountains, with the hope of being enabled to
construct a literary Work that might live, it was a reasonable thing that
he should take a review of his own mind, and examine how far Nature and
Education had qualified him for such employment. As subsidiary to this
preparation, he undertook to record, in verse, the origin and progress
of his own powers, as far as he was acquainted with them. That Work,[A]
addressed to a dear Friend, most distinguished for his knowledge and
genius, and to whom the Author's Intellect is deeply indebted, has been
long finished; and the result of the investigation which gave rise to it
was a determination to compose a philosophical poem, containing views of
Man, Nature, and Society; and to be entitled, _The Recluse_; as having
for its principal subject the sensations and opinions of a poet living
in retirement.--The preparatory poem[M] is biographical, and conducts
the history of the Author's mind to the point when he was emboldened to
hope that his faculties were sufficiently matured for entering upon the
arduous labour which he had proposed to himself; and the two Works have
the same kind of relation to each other, if he may so express himself,
as the ante-chapel has to the body of a gothic church. Continuing this
allusion, he may be permitted to add, that his minor Pieces, which have
been long before the Public, when they shall be properly arranged,[N]
will be found by the attentive Reader to have such connection with the
main Work as may give them claim to be likened to the little cells,
oratories, and sepulchral recesses, ordinarily included in those edifices.

The Author would not have deemed himself justified in saying, upon this
occasion, so much of performances either unfinished, or unpublished,
if he had not thought that the labour bestowed by him upon what he
has heretofore and now laid before the Public, entitled him to candid
attention for such a statement as he thinks necessary to throw light
upon his endeavours to please and, he would hope, to benefit his
countrymen.--Nothing further need be added, than that the first and
third parts of _The Recluse_ will consist chiefly of meditations in the
Author's own person; and that in the intermediate part (_The Excursion_)
the intervention of characters speaking is employed, and something of a
dramatic form adopted.

It is not the Author's intention formally to announce a system: it was
more animating to him to proceed in a different course; and if he shall
succeed in conveying to the mind clear thoughts, lively images, and
strong feelings, the Reader will have no difficulty in extracting the
system for himself. And in the mean time the following passage, taken
from the conclusion of the first book of _The Recluse_, may be acceptable
as a kind of _Prospectus_ of the design and scope of the whole Poem.

        "On Man, on Nature, and on Human Life,
    Musing in solitude, I oft perceive
    Fair trains of imagery before me rise,
    Accompanied by feelings of delight
    Pure, or with no unpleasing sadness mixed;                     5
    And I am conscious of affecting thoughts
    And dear remembrances, whose presence soothes
    Or elevates the Mind, intent to weigh
    The good and evil of our mortal state.
    --To these emotions, whencesoe'er they come,                  10
    Whether from breath of outward circumstance,
    Or from the Soul--an impulse to herself--
    I would give utterance in numerous verse.
    Of Truth, of Grandeur, Beauty, Love, and Hope,
    And melancholy Fear subdued by Faith;                         15
    Of blessed consolations in distress;
    Of moral strength, and intellectual Power;
    Of joy in widest commonalty spread;
    Of the individual Mind that keeps her own
    Inviolate retirement, subject there                           20
    To Conscience only, and the law supreme
    Of that Intelligence which governs all--
    I sing:--'fit audience let me find though few!'[O]

        "So prayed, more gaining than he asked, the Bard--
    In holiest mood.[1] Urania,[P] I shall need                   25
    Thy guidance, or a greater Muse, if such
    Descend to earth or dwell in highest heaven!
    For I must tread on shadowy ground, must sink
    Deep--and, aloft ascending, breathe in worlds
    To which the heaven of heavens is but a veil.                 30
    All strength--all terror, single or in bands,
    That ever was put forth in personal form--
    Jehovah--with his thunder, and the choir
    Of shouting Angels, and the empyreal thrones--
    I pass them unalarmed. Not Chaos, not                         35
    The darkest pit of lowest Erebus,
    Nor aught of blinder vacancy, scooped out
    By help of dreams--can breed such fear and awe
    As fall upon us often when we look
    Into our Minds, into the Mind of Man--                        40
    My haunt, and the main region of my song.
    --Beauty--a living Presence of the earth,
    Surpassing the most fair ideal Forms
    Which craft of delicate Spirits hath composed
    From earth's materials--waits upon my steps;                  45
    Pitches her tents before me as I move,
    An hourly neighbour. Paradise, and groves
    Elysian, Fortunate Fields--like those of old
    Sought in the Atlantic Main[Q]--why should they be
    A history only of departed things,                            50
    Or a mere fiction of what never was?
    For the discerning intellect of Man,
    When wedded to this goodly universe
    In love and holy passion, shall find these
    A simple produce of the common day.                           55
    --I, long before the blissful hour arrives,
    Would chant, in lonely peace, the spousal verse
    Of this great consummation:--and, by words
    Which speak of nothing more than what we are,
    Would I arouse the sensual from their sleep                   60
    Of Death, and win the vacant and the vain
    To noble raptures; while my voice proclaims
    How exquisitely the individual Mind
    (And the progressive powers perhaps no less
    Of the whole species) to the external World                   65
    Is fitted:--and how exquisitely, too--
    Theme this but little heard of among men--
    The external World is fitted to the Mind;
    And the creation (by no lower name
    Can it be called) which they with blended might               70
    Accomplish:--this is our high argument.
    --Such grateful haunts foregoing, if I oft
    Must turn elsewhere--to travel near the tribes
    And fellowships of men, and see ill sights
    Of madding passions mutually inflamed;                        75
    Must hear Humanity in fields and groves
    Pipe solitary anguish; or must hang
    Brooding above the fierce confederate storm
    Of sorrow, barricadoed evermore
    Within the walls of cities--may these sounds                  80
    Have their authentic comment; that even these
    Hearing, I be not downcast or forlorn!--
    Descend, prophetic Spirit![2] that inspir'st
    The human Soul of universal earth,
    Dreaming on things to come;[R] and dost possess               85
    A metropolitan temple in the hearts
    Of mighty Poets: upon me bestow
    A gift of genuine insight; that my Song
    With star-like virtue in its place may shine,
    Shedding benignant influence, and secure,                     90
    Itself, from all malevolent effect
    Of those mutations that extend their sway
    Throughout the nether sphere!--And if with this
    I mix more lowly matter; with the thing
    Contemplated, describe the Mind and Man                       95
    Contemplating; and who, and what he was--
    The transitory Being that beheld
    This Vision; when and where, and how he lived;--
    Be not this labour useless. If such theme
    May sort with highest objects, then--dread Power!
    Whose gracious favour is the primal source                   101
    Of all illumination--may my Life
    Express the image of a better time,
    More wise desires, and simpler manners;--nurse
    My Heart in genuine freedom:--all pure thoughts              105
    Be with me;--so shall thy unfailing love
    Guide, and support, and cheer me to the end!"


[Footnote 1: 1845.

    Holiest of Men.-- ...                                        1814.

[Footnote 2: 1827.

    --Come thou prophetic Spirit, ...                            1814.


[Footnote K: The grounds of Lowther Castle. Compare the sonnet in "Poems,
composed or suggested during a Tour, in the Summer of 1833," beginning--

    Lowther! in thy majestic Pile are seen.                        ED.

[Footnote L: The Lowther stream, rising among the Shap Fells, joins the
Emont at Brougham Castle.--ED.]

[Footnote M: _The Prelude_.--ED.]

[Footnote N: As they were--according to their Author's somewhat arbitrary
classification--in the editions of 1815 and subsequent years.--ED.]

[Footnote O: See _Paradise Lost_, book vii. l. 31.--ED.]

[Footnote P: "Daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne. She was regarded as the
Muse of Astronomy, and was represented with a celestial globe, to which
she points with a little staff" (Hirt. _Mythol. Bilderb._ p. 210).--ED.]

[Footnote Q: Compare _The Prelude_, book i. l. 191 (see vol. iii. p. 138,
notes * and ☨); Strabo, 1; Pliny, 6, c. 31 and 32; Horace, _Odes_ IV., 8,
v. 27; Plutarch, _The Life of Sertorius_.--ED.]

[Footnote R: See Wordsworth's note (p. 383).--ED.]

Book First



    _A summer forenoon--The Author reaches a ruined Cottage upon a
    Common, and there meets with a revered Friend, the Wanderer, of
    whose education and course of life he gives an account[3]--The
    Wanderer, while resting under the shade of the Trees that
    surround the Cottage, relates the History of its last Inhabitant._

    'Twas summer, and the sun had mounted high:
    Southward the landscape indistinctly glared
    Through a pale steam;[T] but all the northern downs,
    In clearest air ascending, showed far off
    A surface dappled o'er with shadows flung                      5
    From brooding clouds; shadows that lay in spots[4]
    Determined and unmoved, with steady beams
    Of bright and pleasant sunshine interposed;
    To him most pleasant who on soft cool moss[5]
    Extends his careless limbs along the front                    10
    Of some huge cave, whose rocky ceiling casts
    A twilight of its own,[U] an ample shade,
    Where the wren warbles, while the dreaming man,
    Half conscious of the soothing melody,
    With side-long eye looks out upon the scene,[V]               15
    By power of that impending covert, thrown,
    To finer distance. Mine was at that hour
    Far other lot, yet with good hope that soon
    Under a shade as grateful I should find
    Rest, and be welcomed there to livelier joy.[6]               20
    Across a bare wide Common I was toiling
    With languid steps that by the slippery turf[7]
    Were baffled; nor could my weak arm disperse
    The host of insects gathering round my face,
    And ever with me as I paced along.[8]                         25

      Upon that open moorland stood a grove,
    The wished-for port to which my course was bound.[9]
    Thither I came, and there, amid the gloom
    Spread by a brotherhood of lofty elms,[W]
    Appeared a roofless Hut; four naked walls                     30
    That stared upon each other!--I looked round,
    And to my wish and to my hope espied
    The Friend I sought;[10] a Man of reverend age,
    But stout and hale, for travel unimpaired.
    There was he seen upon the cottage-bench,                     35
    Recumbent in the shade, as if asleep;
    An iron-pointed staff lay at his side.

      Him had I marked the day before--alone
    And stationed in the public way, with face
    Turned toward the sun then setting, while that staff
    Afforded, to the figure of the man[11]                        41
    Detained for contemplation or repose,
    Graceful support; his countenance as he stood
    Was hidden from my view, and he remained[12]
    Unrecognised; but, stricken by the sight,                     45
    With slackened footsteps I advanced, and soon
    A glad congratulation we exchanged
    At such unthought-of meeting.--For the night
    We parted, nothing willingly; and now
    He by appointment waited for me here,                         50
    Under the covert[13] of these clustering elms.

      We were tried Friends: amid a pleasant vale,
    In the antique market-village where was passed
    My school-time,[W1] an apartment he had owned,
    To which at intervals the Wanderer drew,[14]                  55
    And found a kind of home or harbour there.
    He loved me; from a swarm of rosy boys
    Singled out me, as he in sport would say,
    For my grave looks, too thoughtful for my years.
    As I grew up, it was my best delight                          60
    To be his chosen comrade. Many a time,
    On holidays, we rambled through the woods:
    We sate--we walked; he pleased me with report[15]
    Of things which he had seen; and often touched
    Abstrusest matter, reasonings of the mind                     65
    Turned inward; or at my request would sing[16]
    Old songs, the product of his native hills;[17]
    A skilful distribution of sweet sounds,
    Feeding the soul, and eagerly imbibed
    As cool refreshing water, by the care                         70
    Of the industrious husbandman, diffused
    Through a parched meadow-ground, in time of drought.
    Still deeper welcome found his pure discourse:
    How precious when in riper days I learned
    To weigh with care his words, and to rejoice                  75
    In the plain presence of his dignity!

      Oh! many are the Poets that are sown
    By Nature; men endowed with highest gifts,
    The vision and the faculty divine;[X]
    Yet wanting the accomplishment of verse,                      80
    (Which, in the docile season of their youth,
    It was denied them to acquire, through lack
    Of culture and the inspiring aid of books,
    Or haply by a temper too severe,
    Or a nice backwardness afraid of shame)                       85
    Nor having e'er, as life advanced, been led
    By circumstance to take unto the height
    The measure of themselves, these favoured Beings,
    All but a scattered few, live out their time,
    Husbanding that which they possess within,                    90
    And go to the grave, unthought of. Strongest minds
    Are often those of whom the noisy world
    Hears least;[Y] else surely this Man had not left[Z]
    His graces unrevealed and unproclaimed.
    But, as the mind was filled with inward light,[AA]            95
    So not without distinction had he lived,
    Beloved and honoured--far as he was known.
    And some small portion of his eloquent speech,
    And something that may serve to set in view
    The feeling pleasures of his loneliness,                     100
    His observations, and the thoughts his mind[18]
    Had dealt with--I will here record in verse;
    Which, if with truth it correspond, and sink
    Or rise as venerable Nature leads,
    The high and tender Muses shall accept                       105
    With gracious smile, deliberately pleased,
    And listening Time reward with sacred praise.

      Among the hills of Athol he was born;
    Where,[19] on a small hereditary farm,
    An unproductive slip of rugged ground,                       110
    His Parents, with their numerous offspring, dwelt;[20]
    A virtuous household, though exceeding poor!
    Pure livers were they all, austere and grave,
    And fearing God;[AB] the very children taught
    Stern self-respect, a reverence for God's word,              115
    And an habitual piety, maintained
    With strictness scarcely known on English ground.

      From his sixth year, the Boy of whom I speak,
    In summer, tended cattle on the hills;
    But, through the inclement and the perilous days             120
    Of long-continuing winter, he repaired,
    Equipped with satchel, to a school, that stood[21]
    Sole building on a mountain's dreary edge,
    Remote from view[22] of city spire, or sound
    Of minster clock! From that bleak tenement                   125
    He, many an evening, to his distant home
    In solitude returning, saw the hills
    Grow larger in the darkness; all alone
    Beheld the stars come out above his head,
    And travelled through the wood, with no one near
    To whom he might confess the things he saw.                  131

      So the foundations of his mind were laid.
    In such communion, not from terror free,[AC]
    While yet a child, and long before his time,
    Had he[23] perceived the presence and the power              135
    Of greatness; and deep feelings had impressed
    So vividly great objects that they lay
    Upon his mind like substances, whose presence
    Perplexed the bodily sense. He had received[24]
    [25]A precious gift; for, as he grew in years,               140
    With these impressions would he still compare
    All his remembrances, thoughts, shapes, and forms;
    And, being still unsatisfied with aught
    Of dimmer character, he thence attained
    An active power to fasten images                             145
    Upon his brain; and on their pictured lines
    Intensely brooded, even till they acquired
    The liveliness of dreams.[AD] Nor did he fail,
    While yet a child, with a child's eagerness
    Incessantly to turn his ear and eye                          150
    On all things which the moving seasons brought
    To feed such appetite--nor this alone
    Appeased his yearning:--in the after-day
    Of boyhood, many an hour in caves forlorn,
    And 'mid the hollow depths of naked crags                    155
    He sate, and even in their fixed lineaments,
    Or from the power of a peculiar eye,
    Or by creative feeling overborne,
    Or by predominance of thought oppressed,
    Even in their fixed and steady lineaments                    160
    He traced an ebbing and a flowing mind,
    Expression ever varying!
                             Thus informed,
    He had small need of books; for many a tale
    Traditionary, round the mountains hung,
    And many a legend, peopling the dark woods,                  165
    Nourished Imagination in her growth,
    And gave the Mind that apprehensive power
    By which she is made quick to recognise
    The moral properties and scope of things.
    But eagerly he read, and read again,                         170
    Whate'er the minister's old shelf supplied;
    The life and death of martyrs, who sustained,
    With will inflexible, those fearful pangs
    Triumphantly displayed in records left
    Of persecution, and the Covenant--times                      175
    Whose echo rings through Scotland to this hour!
    And there, by lucky hap, had been preserved
    A straggling volume, torn and incomplete,
    That left half-told[AE] the preternatural tale,
    Romance of giants, chronicle of fiends,                      180
    Profuse in garniture of wooden cuts
    Strange and uncouth; dire faces, figures dire,
    Sharp-kneed, sharp elbowed, and lean-ankled too,
    With long and ghostly shanks--forms which once seen
    Could never be forgotten!
                               In his heart,                     185
    Where Fear sate thus, a cherished visitant,
    Was wanting yet the pure delight of love
    By sound diffused, or by the breathing air,[AF]
    Or by the silent looks of happy things,[AG]
    Or flowing from the universal face                           190
    Of earth and sky. But he had felt the power
    Of Nature, and already was prepared,
    By his intense conceptions, to receive
    Deeply the lesson deep of love which he,
    Whom Nature, by whatever means, has taught                   195
    To feel intensely, cannot but receive.

      Such was the Boy--but for the growing Youth
    What soul was his, when, from the naked top
    Of some bold headland, he beheld the sun[26]
    Rise up, and bathe the world in light![AH] He looked--
    Ocean and earth, the solid frame of earth                    201
    And ocean's liquid mass, in gladness lay
    Beneath him[AI]:--Far and wide the clouds were touched,
    And in their silent faces could he read[27]
    Unutterable love. Sound needed none,                         205
    Nor any voice of joy;[AJ] his spirit drank
    The spectacle: sensation, soul, and form.
    All melted into him; they swallowed up
    His animal being; in them did he live,
    And by them did he live; they were his life.                 210
    In such access of mind, in such high hour
    Of visitation from the living God,
    Thought was not; in enjoyment it expired.
    No thanks he breathed, he proffered no request;
    Rapt into still communion that transcends                    215
    The imperfect offices of prayer and praise,
    His mind was a thanksgiving to the power
    That made him; it was blessedness and love!

      A Herdsman on the lonely mountain tops,
    Such intercourse was his, and in this sort                   220
    Was his existence oftentimes _possessed_.
    O then how beautiful, how bright, appeared
    The written promise! Early had he learned[28]
    To reverence the volume that[29] displays
    The mystery, the life which cannot die;                      225
    But in the mountains did he _feel_ his faith.
    All things, responsive to the writing, there[30]
    Breathed immortality, revolving life,
    And greatness still revolving; infinite:
    There littleness was not; the least of things                230
    Seemed infinite; and there his spirit shaped
    Her prospects, nor did he believe,--he _saw_.
    What wonder if his being thus became
    Sublime and comprehensive! Low desires,
    Low thoughts had there no place; yet was his heart
    Lowly; for he was meek in gratitude,                         236
    Oft as he called those ecstasies to mind,
    And whence they flowed; and from them he acquired
    Wisdom, which works thro' patience; thence he learned
    In oft-recurring hours[31] of sober thought                  240
    To look on Nature with a humble heart,
    Self-questioned where it did not understand,
    And with a superstitious eye of love.

    So passed the time; yet to the nearest town[32]
    He duly went with what small overplus                        245
    His earnings might supply, and brought away
    The book that[33] most had tempted his desires
    While at the stall he read. Among the hills
    He gazed upon that mighty orb of song,
    The divine Milton.[AK] Lore of different kind,               250
    The annual savings of a toilsome life,
    His School-master[34] supplied; books that explain
    The purer elements of truth involved
    In lines and numbers, and, by charm severe,
    (Especially perceived where nature droops                    255
    And feeling is suppressed) preserve the mind
    Busy in solitude and poverty.
    These occupations oftentimes deceived
    The listless hours, while in the hollow vale,
    Hollow and green, he lay on the green turf                   260
    In pensive idleness. What could he do,
    Thus daily thirsting, in that lonesome life
    With blind endeavours?[35] Yet, still uppermost,
    Nature was at his heart as if he felt,
    Though yet he knew not how, a wasting power                  265
    In all things that[36] from her sweet influence
    Might tend to wean him. Therefore with her hues,
    Her forms, and with the spirit of her forms,
    He clothed the nakedness of austere truth.
    While yet he lingered in the rudiments                       270
    Of science, and among her simplest laws,
    His triangles--they were the stars of heaven,
    The silent stars! Oft did he take delight
    To measure the altitude[37] of some tall crag
    That[38] is the eagle's birth-place, or some peak            275
    Familiar with forgotten years, that shows
    Inscribed upon its visionary sides,[39]
    The history of many a winter storm,
    Or obscure records of the path of fire.[AL]

      And thus before his eighteenth year was told,              280
    Accumulated feelings pressed his heart
    With still increasing weight;[40] he was o'erpowered
    By Nature; by the turbulence subdued
    Of his own mind; by mystery and hope,
    And the first virgin passion of a soul                       285
    Communing with the glorious universe.[AM]
    Full often wished he that the winds might rage
    When they were silent: far more fondly now
    Than in his earlier season did he love
    Tempestuous nights--the conflict and the sounds              290
    That live in darkness. From his intellect
    And from the stillness of abstracted thought
    He asked repose; and, failing oft to win[41]
    The peace required, he scanned the laws of light
    Amid the roar of torrents, where they send                   295
    From hollow clefts up to the clearer air
    A cloud of mist, that smitten by the sun
    Varies its rainbow hues.[42] But vainly thus,
    And vainly by all other means, he strove
    To mitigate the fever of his heart.                          300

      In dreams, in study, and in ardent thought,
    Thus was he reared; much wanting to assist
    The growth of intellect, yet gaining more,[43]
    And every moral feeling of his soul
    Strengthened and braced, by breathing in content             305
    The keen, the wholesome, air of poverty,
    And drinking from the well of homely life.[AN]
    --But, from past liberty, and tried restraints,
    He now was summoned to select the course
    Of humble industry that[44] promised best                    310
    To yield him no unworthy maintenance.
    Urged by his Mother, he essayed to teach
    A village-school--but wandering thoughts were then
    A misery to him; and the Youth resigned[45]
    A task he was unable to perform.                             315

      That stern yet kindly Spirit,[AO] who constrains
    The Savoyard to quit his naked rocks,
    The free-born Swiss to leave his narrow vales,
    (Spirit attached to regions mountainous
    Like their own stedfast clouds) did now impel                320
    His restless mind to look abroad with hope.
    --An irksome drudgery seems it to plod on,
    Through hot and dusty ways, or pelting storm,
    A vagrant Merchant under a heavy load,
    Bent as he moves, and needing frequent rest;[46]             325
    Yet do such travellers find their own delight;
    And their hard service, deemed debasing now,
    Gained merited respect in simpler times;
    When squire, and priest, and they who round them dwelt
    In rustic sequestration--all dependent                       330
    Upon the PEDLAR'S toil--supplied their wants,
    Or pleased their fancies, with the wares he brought.
    Not ignorant was the Youth that still no few
    Of his adventurous countrymen were led
    By perseverance in this track of life                        335
    To competence and ease:--to him it offered[47]
    Attractions manifold;--and this he chose.
    --His Parents on the enterprise bestowed[48]
    Their farewell benediction, but with hearts
    Foreboding evil. From his native hills                       340
    He wandered far; much did he see of men,[AP]
    Their manners, their enjoyments, and pursuits,
    Their passions and their feelings; chiefly those
    Essential and eternal in the heart,
    That,[49] 'mid the simpler forms of rural life,              345
    Exist more simple in their elements,
    And speak a plainer language.[AQ] In the woods,
    A lone Enthusiast, and among the fields,
    Itinerant in this labour, he had passed
    The better portion of his time; and there                    350
    Spontaneously had his affections thriven
    Amid the bounties of the year, the peace
    And liberty of nature;[50] there he kept
    In solitude and solitary thought
    His mind in a just equipoise of love.                        355
    Serene it was, unclouded by the cares
    Of ordinary life; unvexed, unwarped
    By partial bondage. In his steady course,
    No piteous revolutions had he felt,
    No wild varieties of joy and grief.                          360
    Unoccupied by sorrow of its own,
    His heart lay open; and, by nature tuned
    And constant disposition of his thoughts
    To sympathy with man, he was alive
    To all that was enjoyed where'er he went,                    365
    And all that was endured; for, in himself
    Happy, and quiet in his cheerfulness,
    He had no painful pressure from without
    That made him turn aside from wretchedness
    With coward fears. He could _afford_ to suffer               370
    With those whom he saw suffer. Hence it came
    That in our best experience he was rich,
    And in the wisdom of our daily life.
    For hence, minutely, in his various rounds,
    He had observed the progress and decay                       375
    Of many minds, of minds and bodies too;
    The history of many families;
    How they had prospered; how they were o'erthrown
    By passion or mischance, or such misrule
    Among the unthinking masters of the earth                    380
    As makes the nations groan.
                                  This active course
    He followed till provision for his wants
    Had been obtained;--the Wanderer then resolved[51]
    To pass the remnant of his days, untasked
    With needless services, from hardship free.                  385
    His calling laid aside, he lived at ease:
    But still he loved to pace the public roads
    And the wild paths; and, by the summer's warmth
    Invited, often would he leave his home
    And journey far, revisiting the scenes                       390
    That to his memory were most endeared.[52]
    --Vigorous in health, of hopeful spirits, undamped[53]
    By worldly-mindedness or anxious care;
    Observant, studious, thoughtful, and refreshed
    By knowledge gathered up from day to day;                    395
    Thus had he lived a long and innocent life.

      The Scottish Church, both on himself and those
    With whom from childhood he grew up, had held
    The strong hand of her purity; and still
    Had watched him with an unrelenting eye.                     400
    This he remembered in his riper age
    With gratitude, and reverential thoughts.
    But by the native vigour of his mind,
    By his habitual wanderings out of doors,
    By loneliness, and goodness, and kind works,                 405
    Whate'er, in docile childhood or in youth,
    He had imbibed of fear or darker thought
    Was melted all away; so true was this,
    That sometimes his religion seemed to me
    Self-taught, as of a dreamer in the woods;                   410
    Who to the model of his own pure heart
    Shaped[54] his belief, as grace divine inspired,
    And[55] human reason dictated with awe.
    --And surely never did there live on earth
    A man of kindlier nature. The rough sports                   415
    And teasing ways of children vexed not him;
    [56]Indulgent listener was he to the tongue
    Of garrulous age; nor did the sick man's tale,
    To his fraternal sympathy addressed,
    Obtain reluctant hearing.
                                Plain his garb;                  420
    Such as might suit a rustic Sire, prepared
    For sabbath duties; yet he was a man
    Whom no one could have passed without remark.
    Active and nervous was his gait; his limbs
    And his whole figure breathed intelligence.                  425
    Time had compressed the freshness of his cheek
    Into a narrower circle of deep red,
    But had not tamed his eye;[AR] that, under brows
    Shaggy and grey, had meanings which it brought
    From years of youth;[AS] which, like a Being made            430
    Of many Beings, he had wondrous skill
    To blend with knowledge of the years to come,
    Human, or such as lie beyond the grave.

           *       *       *       *       *

      So was He framed; and such his course of life
    Who now, with no appendage but a staff,                      435
    The prized memorial of relinquished toils,
    Upon that cottage-bench reposed his limbs,
    Screened from the sun. Supine the Wanderer lay,
    His eyes as if in drowsiness half shut,
    The shadows of the breezy elms above                         440
    Dappling his face. He had not heard the sound
    Of my approaching steps, and in the shade
    Unnoticed did I stand some minutes' space.[57]
    At length I hailed him, seeing that his hat
    Was moist with water-drops, as if the brim                   445
    Had newly scooped a running stream. He rose,
    And ere our lively greeting into peace
    Had settled, "'Tis," said I,[58] "a burning day:
    My lips are parched with thirst, but you, it seems,[59]
    Have somewhere found relief." He, at the word,               450
    Pointing towards a sweet-briar, bade me climb
    The fence where that aspiring shrub looked out
    Upon the public way.[60] It was a plot
    Of garden ground run wild, its matted weeds
    Marked with the steps of those, whom, as they passed,
    The gooseberry trees that shot in long lank slips,           456
    Or currants, hanging from their leafless stems,
    In scanty strings, had tempted to o'erleap[61]
    The broken wall. I looked around, and there,
    Where two tall hedge-rows of thick alder boughs              460
    Joined in a cold damp nook, espied a well
    Shrouded with willow-flowers and plumy fern.
    My thirst I slaked, and, from the cheerless spot
    Withdrawing, straightway to the shade returned
    Where sate the old Man on the cottage-bench;                 465
    And, while, beside him, with uncovered head,
    I yet was standing, freely to respire,
    And cool my temples in the fanning air,
    Thus did he speak. "I see around me here
    Things which you cannot see: we die, my Friend,              470
    Nor we alone, but that which each man loved
    And prized in his peculiar nook of earth
    Dies with him, or is changed; and very soon
    Even of the good is no memorial left.[AT]
    --The Poets, in their elegies and songs                      475
    Lamenting the departed, call the groves,
    They call upon the hills and streams to mourn,[AU]
    And senseless rocks; nor idly; for they speak,
    In these their invocations, with a voice
    Obedient to the strong creative power                        480
    Of human passion. Sympathies there are
    More tranquil, yet perhaps of kindred birth,
    That steal upon the meditative mind,
    And grow with thought. Beside yon spring I stood,
    And eyed its waters till we seemed to feel                   485
    One sadness, they and I. For them a bond
    Of brotherhood is broken: time has been
    When, every day, the touch of human hand
    Dislodged the natural sleep that binds them up
    In mortal stillness; and they ministered                     490
    To human comfort. Stooping down[62] to drink,
    Upon the slimy foot-stone I espied
    The useless fragment of a wooden bowl,
    Green with the moss of years, and subject only
    To the soft handling of the elements:                        495
    There let it lie--how foolish are such thoughts!
    Forgive them;--never--never did my steps
    Approach this door but she who dwelt within[63]
    A daughter's welcome gave me, and I loved her
    As my own child. Oh, Sir! the good die first,[AV]            500
    And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust
    Burn to the socket. Many a passenger
    Hath blessed poor Margaret for her gentle looks,
    When she upheld the cool refreshment drawn
    From that forsaken spring; and no one came                   505
    But he was welcome; no one went away
    But that it seemed she loved him. She is dead,
    The light extinguished of her lonely hut,
    The hut itself abandoned to decay,
    And she forgotten in the quiet grave.                        510

      "I speak," continued he, "of One whose stock
    Of virtues bloomed beneath this lowly roof.
    She was a Woman of a steady mind,
    Tender and deep in her excess of love;
    Not speaking much, pleased rather with the joy               515
    Of her own thoughts: by some especial care
    Her temper had been framed, as if to make
    A Being, who by adding love to peace
    Might live on earth a life of happiness.
    Her wedded Partner lacked not on his side                    520
    The humble worth that satisfied her heart:
    Frugal, affectionate, sober, and withal
    Keenly industrious. She with pride would tell
    That he was often seated at his loom,[AW]
    In summer, ere the mower was abroad                          525
    Among the dewy grass,--in early spring,
    Ere the last star had vanished.--They who passed
    At evening, from behind the garden fence
    Might hear his busy spade, which he would ply,
    After his daily work, until the light                        530
    Had failed, and every leaf and flower were lost
    In the dark hedges. So their days were spent
    In peace and comfort; and a pretty boy
    Was their best hope, next to the God in heaven.

      "Not twenty years ago, but you I think                     535
    Can scarcely bear it now in mind, there came
    Two blighting seasons, when the fields were left
    With half a harvest. It pleased Heaven to add
    A worse affliction in the plague of war:
    This happy Land was stricken to the heart!                   540
    A Wanderer then among the cottages,
    I, with my freight of winter raiment, saw
    The hardships of that season: many rich
    Sank down, as in a dream, among the poor;
    And of the poor did many cease to be,                        545
    And their place knew them not.[AX] Meanwhile, abridged
    Of daily comforts, gladly reconciled
    To numerous self-denials, Margaret
    Went struggling on through those calamitous years
    With cheerful hope, until the second autumn,                 550
    When her life's Helpmate on a sick-bed lay,[64]
    Smitten with perilous fever. In disease
    He lingered long; and, when his strength returned,
    He found the little he had stored, to meet
    The hour of accident or crippling age,                       555
    Was all consumed. A second infant now
    Was added to the troubles of a time
    Laden, for them and all of their degree,
    With care and sorrow: shoals of artisans
    From ill-requited labour turned adrift                       560
    Sought daily bread from public charity,[65]
    They, and their wives and children--happier far
    Could they have lived as do the little birds
    That peck along the hedge-rows, or the kite
    That makes her dwelling on the mountain rocks![66]           565
      "A sad reverse it was for him who long
    Had filled with plenty, and possessed in peace,
    This lonely Cottage. At the door[67] he stood,
    And whistled many a snatch of merry tunes
    That had no mirth in them;[AY] or with his knife             570
    Carved uncouth figures on the heads of sticks--
    Then, not less idly, sought, through every nook
    In house or garden, any casual work
    Of use or ornament; and with a strange,
    Amusing, yet uneasy, novelty,                                575
    He mingled,[68] where he might, the various tasks
    Of summer, autumn, winter, and of spring.
    But this endured not; his good humour soon
    Became a weight in which no pleasure was:
    And poverty brought on a petted mood                         580
    And a sore temper: day by day he drooped,
    And he would leave his work--and to the town
    Would turn without an errand his slack steps;[69]
    Or wander here and there among the fields.
    One while he would speak lightly of his babes,               585
    And with a cruel tongue; at other times
    He tossed them with a false unnatural joy:
    And 'twas a rueful thing to see the looks
    Of the poor innocent children. 'Every smile,'
    Said Margaret to me, here beneath these trees,               590
    'Made my heart bleed.'"
                              At this the Wanderer paused;
    And, looking up to those enormous elms,
    He said, "'Tis now the hour of deepest noon.[AZ]
    At this still season of repose and peace,
    This hour when all things which are not at rest              595
    Are cheerful; while this multitude of flies
    With tuneful hum is filling all the air;[70]
    Why should a tear be on an old Man's cheek?[71]
    Why should we thus, with an untoward mind,
    And in the weakness of humanity,                             600
    From natural wisdom turn our hearts away;
    To natural comfort shut our eyes and ears;
    And, feeding on disquiet, thus disturb
    The calm of nature with our restless thoughts?"

           *       *       *       *       *

    He spake with somewhat of a solemn tone:                     605
    But, when he ended, there was in his face
    Such easy cheerfulness, a look so mild,[BA]
    That for a little time it stole away
    All recollection; and that simple tale
    Passed from my mind like a forgotten sound.                  610
    A while on trivial things we held discourse,
    To me soon tasteless. In my own despite,
    I thought of that poor Woman as of one
    Whom I had known and loved. He had rehearsed
    Her homely tale with such familiar power,                    615
    With such an active countenance, an eye
    So busy, that the things of which he spake
    Seemed present; and, attention now relaxed,
    A heart-felt chillness crept along my veins.
    I rose; and, having left the breezy shade,                   620
    Stood drinking comfort from the warmer sun,
    That had not cheered me long--ere, looking round[72]
    Upon that tranquil Ruin, I returned,
    And begged of the old Man that, for my sake,
    He would resume his story.
                                He replied,                      625
    "It were a wantonness, and would demand
    Severe reproof, if we were men whose hearts
    Could hold vain dalliance with the misery
    Even of the dead; contented thence to draw
    A momentary pleasure, never marked                           630
    By reason, barren of all future good.
    But we have known that there is often found
    In mournful thoughts, and always might be found,
    A power to virtue friendly; wer't not so,
    I am a dreamer among men, indeed                             635
    An idle dreamer! 'Tis a common tale,
    An ordinary sorrow of man's life,
    A tale of silent suffering, hardly clothed
    In bodily form.--But without further bidding
    I will proceed.
                    "While thus it fared with them,              640
    To whom this cottage, till those hapless years,
    Had been a blessed home, it was my chance
    To travel in a country far remote;
    And[73] when these lofty elms once more appeared
    What pleasant expectations lured me on                       645
    O'er the flat Common!--With quick step I reached
    The threshold, lifted with light hand the latch;
    But, when I entered, Margaret looked at me[74]
    A little while; then turned her head away
    Speechless,--and, sitting down upon a chair,                 650
    Wept bitterly. I wist not what to do,
    Nor[75] how to speak to her. Poor Wretch! at last
    She rose from off her seat, and then,--O Sir!
    I cannot _tell_ how she pronounced my name:--
    With fervent love, and with a face of grief                  655
    Unutterably helpless, and a look
    That seemed to cling upon me,[76] she enquired
    If I had seen her husband. As she spake
    A strange surprise and fear came to my heart,
    Nor had I power to answer ere she told                       660
    That he had disappeared--not two months gone.
    He left his house: two wretched days had past,
    And on the third, as wistfully she raised
    Her head from off her pillow, to look forth,
    Like one in trouble, for returning light,                    665
    Within her chamber-casement she espied
    A folded paper, lying as if placed
    To meet her waking eyes. This tremblingly
    She opened--found no writing, but beheld[77]
    Pieces of money carefully enclosed,                          670
    Silver and gold. 'I shuddered at the sight,'
    Said Margaret, 'for I knew it was his hand
    That must have placed it there; and ere that day
    Was ended, that long anxious day, I learned,
    From one who by my husband had been sent                     675
    With the sad news, that he had joined a troop[78]
    Of soldiers, going to a distant land.
    --He left me thus--he could not gather heart
    To take a farewell of me; for he feared
    That I should follow with my babes, and sink                 680
    Beneath the misery of that wandering life.'

      "This tale did Margaret tell with many tears:
    And, when she ended, I had little power
    To give her comfort, and was glad to take                    684
    Such words of hope from her own mouth as served
    To cheer us both. But long we had not talked
    Ere we built up a pile of better thoughts,
    And with a brighter eye she looked around
    As if she had been shedding tears of joy.
    We parted.--'Twas the time of early spring;                  690
    I left her busy with her garden tools;
    And well remember, o'er that fence she looked,
    And, while I paced along the foot-way path,
    Called out, and sent a blessing after me,
    With tender cheerfulness, and with a voice                   695
    That seemed the very sound of happy thoughts.

      "I roved o'er many a hill and many a dale,
    With my accustomed load; in heat and cold,
    Through many a wood and many an open ground,
    In sunshine and in shade, in wet and fair,                   700
    Drooping or blithe of heart, as might befal;
    My best companions now the driving winds,
    And now the 'trotting brooks'[BB] and whispering trees,
    And now the music of my own sad steps,
    With many a short-lived thought that passed between,
    And disappeared.
                       "I journeyed back this way,               706
    When, in the warmth of midsummer, the wheat[79]
    Was yellow; and the soft and bladed grass,[BC]
    Springing afresh, had o'er the hay-field spread
    Its tender verdure. At the door arrived,                     710
    I found that she was absent. In the shade,
    Where now we sit, I waited her return.
    Her cottage, then a cheerful object, wore
    Its customary look,--only, it seemed,[80]
    The honeysuckle, crowding round the porch,                   715
    Hung down in heavier tufts; and that bright weed,
    The yellow stone-crop,[BD] suffered to take root
    Along the window's edge, profusely grew
    Blinding the lower panes. I turned aside,
    And strolled into her garden. It appeared                    720
    To lag behind the season, and had lost
    Its pride of neatness. Daisy-flowers and thrift[BE]
    Had broken their trim border-lines, and straggled
    O'er paths they used to deck:[81] carnations, once
    Prized for surpassing beauty, and no less                    725
    For the peculiar pains they had required,
    Declined their languid heads, wanting support.[82]
    The cumbrous bind-weed,[BF] with its wreaths and bells,
    Had twined about her two small rows of peas,                 729
    And dragged them to the earth.
                                   "Ere this an hour
    Was wasted.--Back I turned my restless steps;
    [83]A stranger passed; and, guessing whom I sought,
    He said that she was used to ramble far.--
    The sun was sinking in the west; and now
    I sate with sad impatience. From within                      735
    Her solitary infant cried aloud;
    Then, like a blast that dies away self-stilled,
    The voice was silent. From the bench I rose;
    But neither could divert nor soothe my thoughts.
    The spot, though fair, was very desolate--                   740
    The longer I remained, more desolate:
    And, looking round me, now I first observed
    The corner stones, on either side the porch,[84]
    With dull red stains discoloured, and stuck o'er
    With tufts and hairs of wool, as if the sheep,               745
    That fed upon the Common, thither came
    Familiarly, and found a couching-place
    Even at her threshold. Deeper shadows fell
    From these tall elms; the cottage-clock struck eight;--
    I turned, and saw her distant a few steps.                   750
    Her face was pale and thin--her figure, too,
    Was changed. As she unlocked the door, she said,
    'It grieves me you have waited here so long,
    But, in good truth, I've wandered much of late;
    And, sometimes--to my shame I speak--have need
    Of my best prayers to bring me back again.'                  756
    While on the board she spread our evening meal,
    She told me--interrupting not the work
    Which gave employment to her listless hands--
    That she had parted with her elder child;                    760
    To a kind master on a distant farm
    Now happily apprenticed.--'I perceive
    You look at me, and you have cause; to-day
    I have been travelling far; and many days
    About the fields I wander, knowing this                      765
    Only, that what I seek I cannot find;
    And so I waste my time: for I am changed;
    And to myself,' said she, 'have done much wrong
    And to this helpless infant. I have slept
    Weeping, and weeping have I waked;[85] my tears              770
    Have flowed as if my body were not such
    As others are; and I could never die.
    But I am now in mind and in my heart
    More easy; and I hope,' said she, 'that God[86]
    Will give me patience to endure the things                   775
    Which I behold at home.'
                            "It would have grieved
    Your very soul to see her. Sir, I feel
    The story linger in my heart; I fear
    'Tis long and tedious; but my spirit clings
    To that poor Woman:--so familiarly                           780
    Do I perceive her manner, and her look,
    And presence; and so deeply do I feel
    Her goodness, that, not seldom, in my walks
    A momentary trance comes over me;
    And to myself I seem to muse on One                          785
    By sorrow laid asleep; or borne away,
    A human being destined to awake
    To human life, or something very near
    To human life, when he shall come again
    For whom she suffered. Yes, it would have grieved            790
    Your very soul to see her: evermore
    Her eyelids drooped, her eyes downward were cast;[87]
    And, when she at her table gave me food,
    She did not look at me. Her voice was low,
    Her body was subdued. In every act                           795
    Pertaining to her house-affairs, appeared
    The careless stillness of a thinking mind
    Self-occupied; to which all outward things
    Are like an idle matter. Still she sighed,
    But yet no motion of the breast was seen,                    800
    No heaving of the heart. While by the fire
    We sate together, sighs came on my ear,
    I knew not how, and hardly whence they came.

      "Ere my departure, to her care I gave,
    For her son's use, some tokens of regard,                    805
    Which with a look of welcome she received;
    And I exhorted her to place her trust[88]
    In God's good love, and seek his help by prayer.
    I took my staff, and, when I kissed her babe,
    The tears stood in her eyes. I left her then                 810
    With the best hope and comfort I could give:
    She thanked me for my wish;--but for my hope
    It seemed[89] she did not thank me.
                                       "I returned,
    And took my rounds along this road again
    When[90] on its sunny bank the primrose flower               815
    Peeped forth, to give an earnest of the Spring.
    I found her sad and drooping: she had learned
    No tidings of her husband; if he lived,[91]
    She knew not that he lived; if he were dead,                 819
    She knew not he was dead. She seemed the same
    In person and appearance; but her house
    Bespake a sleepy hand of negligence;[BG]
    The floor was neither dry nor neat, the hearth
    Was comfortless, and her small lot of books,
    Which, in the cottage-window, heretofore                     825
    Had been piled up against the corner panes
    In seemly order, now, with straggling leaves
    Lay scattered here and there, open or shut,
    As they had chanced to fall. Her infant Babe
    Had from its Mother caught the trick of grief,               830
    And sighed among its playthings. I withdrew,
    And once again entering the garden saw,[92]
    More plainly still, that poverty and grief
    Were now come nearer to her: weeds defaced
    The hardened soil, and knots of withered grass:              835
    No ridges there appeared of clear black mould,
    No winter greenness; of her herbs and flowers,
    It seemed the better part were gnawed away
    Or trampled into earth; a chain of straw,
    Which had been twined about the slender stem                 840
    Of a young apple-tree, lay at its root;
    The bark was nibbled round by truant sheep.
    --Margaret stood near, her infant in her arms,
    And, noting that my eye was on the tree,
    She said, 'I fear it will be dead and gone                   845
    Ere Robert come again.' When to the House
    We had returned together, she enquired[93]
    If I had any hope:--but for her babe
    And for her little orphan boy, she said,
    She had no wish to live, that she must die                   850
    Of sorrow. Yet I saw the idle loom
    Still in its place; his sunday garments hung
    Upon the self-same nail; his very staff
    Stood undisturbed behind the door.
                                       "And when,
    In bleak December, I retraced this way,                      855
    She told me that her little babe was dead,
    And she was left alone. She now, released
    From her maternal cares, had taken up
    The employment common through these wilds, and gained,
    By spinning hemp, a pittance for herself;                    860
    And for this end had hired a neighbour's boy
    To give her needful help. That very time
    Most willingly she put her work aside,
    And walked with me along the miry road,
    Heedless how far; and, in such piteous sort                  865
    That any heart had ached to hear her, begged
    That, wheresoe'er I went, I still would ask
    For him whom she had lost. We parted then--
    Our final parting; for from that time forth
    Did many seasons pass ere I returned                         870
    Into this tract again.
                           "Nine tedious years;
    From their first separation, nine long years,
    She lingered in unquiet widowhood;
    A Wife and Widow. Needs must it have been
    A sore heart-wasting! I have heard, my Friend,               875
    That in yon arbour oftentimes she sate
    Alone, through half the vacant sabbath day;
    And, if a dog passed by, she still would quit
    The shade, and look abroad. On this old bench
    For hours she sate; and evermore her eye                     880
    Was busy in the distance, shaping things
    That made her heart beat quick. You see that path,
    Now faint,--the grass has crept o'er its grey line;
    There, to and fro, she paced through many a day
    Of the warm summer, from a belt of hemp                      885
    That girt her waist, spinning the long-drawn thread
    With backward steps. Yet ever as there passed
    A man whose garments showed the soldier's red,
    Or crippled mendicant in sailor's garb,
    The little child who sate to turn the wheel                  890
    Ceased from his task; and she with faltering voice
    Made many a fond enquiry; and when they,
    Whose presence gave no comfort, were gone by,
    Her heart was still more sad. And by yon gate,
    That bars the traveller's road, she often stood,             895
    And when a stranger horseman came, the latch
    Would lift, and in his face look wistfully:
    Most happy, if, from aught discovered there
    Of tender feeling, she might dare repeat
    The same sad question. Meanwhile her poor Hut                900
    Sank to decay; for he was gone, whose hand,
    At the first nipping of October frost,
    Closed up each chink, and with fresh bands of straw
    Chequered the green-grown thatch. And so she lived
    Through the long winter, reckless and alone;                 905
    Until her house by frost, and thaw, and rain,
    Was sapped; and while she slept, the nightly damps
    Did chill her breast; and in the stormy day
    Her tattered clothes were ruffled by the wind,
    Even at the side of her own fire. Yet still                  910
    She loved this wretched spot, nor would for worlds
    Have parted hence; and still that length of road,
    And this rude bench, one torturing hope endeared,
    Fast rooted at her heart: and here, my Friend,--
    In sickness she remained; and here she died;                 915
    Last human tenant of these ruined walls!"[BH]

      The old Man ceased: he saw that I was moved;
    From that low bench, rising instinctively
    I turned aside in weakness, nor had power
    To thank him for the tale which he had told.                 920
    I stood, and leaning o'er the garden wall
    Reviewed that Woman's sufferings; and it seemed
    To comfort me while with a brother's love
    I blessed her in the impotence of grief.
    Then towards the cottage I returned; and traced              925
    Fondly, though with an interest more mild,[94]
    That secret spirit of humanity
    Which, 'mid the calm oblivious tendencies
    Of nature, 'mid her plants, and weeds, and flowers,
    And silent overgrowings, still survived.                     930
    The old Man, noting this, resumed, and said,
    "My Friend! enough to sorrow you have given,
    The purposes of wisdom ask no more:
    Nor more would she have craved as due to One
    Who, in her worst distress, had oft-times felt               935
    The unbounded might of prayer; and learned, with soul
    Fixed on the Cross, that consolation springs,
    From sources deeper far than deepest pain,
    For the meek Sufferer.[95] Why then should we read
    The forms of things with an unworthy eye?[96]                940
    She sleeps in the calm earth, and peace is here.
    I well remember that those very plumes,
    Those weeds, and the high spear-grass on that wall,
    By mist and silent rain-drops silvered o'er,
    As once I passed, into my heart conveyed[97]                 945
    So still an image of tranquillity,[BI]
    So calm and still, and looked so beautiful
    Amid the uneasy thoughts which filled my mind,
    That what we feel of sorrow and despair
    From ruin and from change, and all the grief                 950
    That passing shows[98] of Being leave behind,
    Appeared an idle dream, that could maintain,
    Nowhere, dominion o'er the enlightened spirit
    Whose meditative sympathies repose
    Upon the breast of Faith. I turned away,[99]                 955
    And walked along my road in happiness."

      He ceased. Ere long the sun declining shot
    A slant and mellow radiance, which began
    To fall upon us, while, beneath the trees,
    We sate on that low bench: and now we felt,                  960
    Admonished thus, the sweet hour coming on.
    A linnet warbled from those lofty elms,
    A thrush sang loud, and other melodies,
    At distance heard, peopled the milder air.
    The old Man rose, and, with a sprightly mien                 965
    Of hopeful preparation, grasped his staff;
    Together casting then a farewell look
    Upon those silent walls, we left the shade;
    And, ere the stars were visible, had reached
    A village-inn,--our evening resting-place.                   970


[Footnote 3: 1836.

    _the Wanderer, of whom he gives an account_--                1814.

[Footnote 4: 1827.

    From many a brooding cloud; far as the sight
    Could reach, those many shadows lay in spots                 1814.

[Footnote 5: 1845.

    Pleasant to him who on the soft cool moss                    1814.

[Footnote 6: 1845.

    By that impending covert made more soft,
    More low and distant! Other lot was mine;
    Yet with good hope that soon I should obtain
    As grateful resting-place, and livelier joy.                 1814.

    By power of that impending covert thrown
    To finer distance. Other lot was mine;                       1827.

                    ... Other lot was mine;
    Though with good hope to cheer the sultry hour
    That under shade as grateful I should soon
    Rest, and be welcomed there to livelier joy.                    C.

                       ... Mine was at that hour
    A toilsome lot, yet with good hope that soon
    Under a shade as grateful I should find                         C.

[Footnote 7: 1845.

    With languid feet, which by the slippery ground              1814.

    With languid steps that ...                                  1827.

[Footnote 8:

    Across a bare wide common I was toiling
    When oft each footstep by the slippery turf
    Was baffled: nor could my arm disperse
    The host of insects gathered round my face,
    And ever with me as I paced along.
    Now with eyes turned towards the far-distant hills,
    Now towards a grove that from the wide-spread moor
    Rose up! the port to which my course was bound.                 C.

[Footnote 9: 1845.

      Upon that open level stood a Grove,
    The wished-for Port to which my steps were bound.            1814.

                             ... my course was bound.            1827.
] [Footnote 10: 1845.

    Him whom I sought; ...                                      1814.

[Footnote 11: 1827.

    And in the middle of the public way
    Stationed, as if to rest himself, with face
    Turned tow'rds the sun then setting, while that staff
    Afforded to his Figure, as he stood,


      Him had I chanced to mark the day before
    Alone, and stationed in the public way;
    Westward he looked as if his gaze were fixed
    Upon the sun then setting, ...                                  C.

[Footnote 12: 1845.

                   ... the countenance of the Man
    Was hidden from my view, and he himself                      1814.

                   ... his countenance meanwhile
    Was hidden from my view, and he remain'd                     1827.

[Footnote 13: C. and 1845.

    Beneath the shelter ...                                      1814.

[Footnote 14: 1845.

      We were tried Friends: I from my Childhood up
    Had known him.--In a little Town obscure,
    A market-village, seated in a tract
    Of mountains, where my school-day time was pass'd,
    One room he owned, the fifth part of a house,
    A place to which he drew, from time to time,                 1814.

      We were tried Friends: amid a pleasant vale,
    In the antique market village where were pass'd
    My school-days, an apartment he had own'd,
    To which at intervals the Wanderer drew,                     1827.

[Footnote 15: 1827.

    On holidays, we wandered through the woods,
    A pair of random travellers; we sate--
    We walked; he pleas'd me with his sweet discourse            1814.

[Footnote 16: 1827.

    ... he sang                                                  1814.

[Footnote 17: 1814.

    Old songs brought with him from his native hills;               C.

[Footnote 18: 1827.

    The doings, observations, which his mind                     1814.

    His habits, observations, and the thoughts
    He cherished-- ...                                             MS.

[Footnote 19: 1827.

    There, ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 20: 1827

    His Father dwelt; and died in poverty;
    While He, whose lowly fortune I retrace,
    The youngest of three sons, was yet a babe,
    A little One--unconscious of their loss.
    But ere he had outgrown his infant days
    His widowed Mother, for a second Mate,
    Espoused the Teacher of the Village School;
    Who on her offspring zealously bestowed
    Needful instruction; not alone in arts
    Which to his humble duties appertained,
    But in the lore of right and wrong, the rule
    Of human kindness, in the peaceful ways
    Of honesty, and holiness severe.
    A virtuous Household ...                                     1814.

[Footnote 21: 1827.

    To his Step-father's School, that stood alone,               1814.

[Footnote 22: 1827.

    Far from the sight ...                                       1814.

[Footnote 23: 1836.

    He had ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 24: 1845.

    ... had impressed
    Great objects on his mind, with portraiture
    And colour so distinct, that on his mind
    They lay like substances, and almost seemed
    To haunt the bodily sense. He had received                   1814.

    ... had impressed
    Upon his mind great objects so distinct
    In portraiture, in colouring so vivid,
    That on his mind they lay like substances,
    And almost indistinguishably mixed
    With things of bodily sense....                                 C.

[Footnote 25:

    (Vigorous in native genius as he was)

This line appeared only in 1814 and 1820.]

[Footnote 26: 1827.

      From early childhood, even, as hath been said,
    From his sixth year, he had been sent abroad
    In summer to tend herds: such was his task
    Thenceforward 'till the later day of youth.
    O then what soul was his, when, on the tops
    Of the high mountains, he beheld the sun                     1814.

[Footnote 27: 1845.

    And ocean's liquid mass, beneath him lay
    In gladness and deep joy. The clouds were touch'd,
    And in their silent faces did he read                        1814.

                          ... could he read                      1836.

[Footnote 28: 1827.

    ... He had early learned                                     1814.

[Footnote 29: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 30: 1832.

    There did he see the writing;--all things there              1814.

    Responsive to the writing, all things there                  1827.

[Footnote 31: 1827.

    In many a calmer hour ...                                    1814.

[Footnote 32: 1827.

    ... yet to a neighbouring town                               1814.

[Footnote 33: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 34: 1827.

    His Step-father ...                                          1814.

[Footnote 35: 1827.

    ... What could he do
    With blind endeavours, in that lonesome life,
    Thus thirsting daily?...                                     1814.

[Footnote 36: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 37: 1832.

    ... th' altitude ...                                         1814.

[Footnote 38: 1827.

    Which ...                                                    1814.

[Footnote 39: 1845.

    Inscribed, as with the silence of the thought,
    Upon it's bleak and visionary sides,                         1814.

[Footnote 40: 1827.

    With an increasing weight; ...                               1814.

[Footnote 41: 1827.

    He asked repose; and I have heard him say
    That often, failing at this time to gain                     1814.

[Footnote 42: 1827.

    A cloud of mist, which in the sunshine frames
    A lasting tablet--for the observer's eye
    Varying it's rainbow hues....                                1814.

[Footnote 43: 1827.

    Thus, even from Childhood upward, was he reared;
    For intellectual progress wanting much,
    Doubtless, of needful help--yet gaining more;                1814.

[Footnote 44: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 45: 1827.

    The Mother strove to make her Son perceive
    With what advantage he might teach a School
    In the adjoining Village; but the Youth,
    Who of this service made a short essay,
    Found that the wanderings of his thought were then
    A misery to him; that he must resign                         1814.

[Footnote 46: 1836.

    Through dusty ways, in storm, from door to door,
    A vagrant Merchant bent beneath his load!                    1814.

    Through hot and dusty ways, or pelting storm,                1827.

[Footnote 47: 1845.

    ... for him it bore                                          1814.

[Footnote 48: 1827.

    He asked his Mother's blessing; and, with tears
    Thanking his second Father, asked from him
    Paternal blessings. The good Pair bestowed                   1814.

[Footnote 49: 1827.

    Which, ...                                                    1814.

[Footnote 50: 1827.

    Upon the bounties of the year, and felt
    The liberty of Nature; ...                                    1814.

[Footnote 51: 1827.

    ... --This active course,
    Chosen in youth, through manhood he pursued,
    Till due provision for his modest wants
    Had been obtained;--and, thereupon, resolved                 1814.

[Footnote 52: 1827.

    ... and, when the summer's warmth
    Invited him, would often leave his home
    And journey far, revisiting those scenes
    Which to his memory were most endeared.                      1814.

[Footnote 53: 1827.

    ... untouched                                                1814.

[Footnote 54: 1827.

    Framed ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 55: 1836.

    Or ...                                                       1814.

[Footnote 56:

    Nor could he bid them from his presence, tired
    With questions and importunate demands:

These two lines appeared only in 1814 and 1820.]

[Footnote 57: 1827.

                ... He had not heard my steps
    As I approached; and near him did I stand
    Unnotic'd in the shade, some minutes' space.                 1814.

[Footnote 58: 1827.

    And ere the pleasant greeting that ensued
    Was ended, "'Tis," said I, ...                               1814.

[Footnote 59: 1827.

    ... but you, I guess,                                        1814.

[Footnote 60: 1827.

    ... He, at the word,
    Pointing towards a sweet briar, bade me climb
    The fence hard by, where that aspiring shrub
    Looked out upon the road ...                                 1814.

    ... He raised his hand,
    And to a sweet-briar pointing, bade me climb                    C.

[Footnote 61: 1814.

    The gooseberry-trees that showed their dwindled fruit
    Hanging in long lank slips, or leafless strings
    Of currants might have tempted to o'erleap                      C.

[Footnote 62: 1827.

    ... As I stooped ...                                         1814.

[Footnote 63: 1836.

    Green with the moss of years; a pensive sight
    That moved my heart!--recalling former days
    When I could never pass that road but She
    Who lived within these walls, at my approach.                1814.

    Green with the moss of years, and subject only
    To the soft handling of the Elements:
    There let the relic lie--fond thought--vain words!
    Forgive them--never did my steps approach
    This humble door but she who dwelt within                    1827.

    Forgive them;--never--never did my steps
    Approach this door but she who dwelt within                  1832.

    Forgive them for the sake of her who dwelt
    Within these walls, who here so oft hath giv'n
    To me a daughter's greeting; and I loved her                   MS.

    Green with the moss of years. Upon the simple sight
    As there it lay I could not look unmoved!
    Forgive the weakness--never did step of mine
    Approach this door, but she who dwelt within                    C.

[Footnote 64: 1827.

    With chearful hope: but ere the second autumn
    Her life's true Help-mate on a sick-bed lay,                 1814.

[Footnote 65: 1827.

    Was all consumed. Two children had they now,
    One newly born. As I have said, it was
    A time of trouble; shoals of Artisans
    Were from their daily labour turn'd adrift
    To seek their bread from public charity,                     1814.

[Footnote 66: 1827.

    That peck along the hedges, or the Kite
    That makes his dwelling on the mountain Rocks!               1814.

[Footnote 67: 1836.

    ... At his door ...                                          1814.

[Footnote 68: 1836.

    He blended, ...                                               1814.

[Footnote 69: 1836.

    Without an errand, would direct his steps,                   1814.

[Footnote 70: 1845.

    Is filling all the air with melody;                          1814.

[Footnote 71: 1845.

    ... in an Old Man's eye?                                     1814.

[Footnote 72: 1827.

    There was a heart-felt chillness in my veins.--
    I rose; and, turning from the breezy shade,
    Went forth into the open air, and stood
    To drink the comfort of the warmer sun.
    Long time I had not staid, ere, looking round                1814.

[Footnote 73: 1814.

    But ...                                                        MS.

[Footnote 74: 1827.

    ... far remote.
    And glad I was, when, halting by yon gate
    That leads from the green lane, once more I saw
    These lofty elm-trees. Long I did not rest:
    With many pleasant thoughts I chear'd my way
    O'er the flat Common.--Having reached the door
    I knock'd,--and, when I entered with the hope
    Of usual greeting, Margaret looked at me                     1814.

[Footnote 75: 1832.

    Or ...                                                       1814.

[Footnote 76: 1814.

    With fervent love, and with a look of grief
    Unutterable, and with a helpless look
    That seemed to cling upon me, ...                               C.

[Footnote 77: 1827.

    ... but therein                                              1814.

[Footnote 78: 1836.

    Which placed it there: and ere that day was ended,
    That long and anxious day! I learned from One
    Sent hither by my Husband to impart
    The heavy news,--that he had joined a Troop.                 1814.

[Footnote 79: 1827.

    Towards the wane of Summer; when the wheat                   1814.

[Footnote 80: 1827.

    ... only, I thought,                                         1814.

[Footnote 81: 1845.

    Its pride of neatness. From the border lines
    Composed of daisy and resplendent thrift,
    Flowers straggling forth had on those paths encroached
    Which they were used to deck:-- ...                          1814.

    ... Daisy-flow'rs and thrift
    Had broken their trim lines, and straggled o'er
    The paths they used to deck:-- ...                           1827.

[Footnote 82: 1832.

    ... without support.                                         1814.

[Footnote 83:

    And, as I walked before the door, it chanced

This line appeared only in 1814 and 1820.]

[Footnote 84: 1827.

    And, looking round, I saw the corner stones,
    Till then unnotic'd, on either side the door                 1814.

[Footnote 85: 1827.

    ... I have waked; ...                                        1814.

[Footnote 86: 1832.

    ... "that heaven                                             1814.

[Footnote 87: 1845.

    ... were downward cast;                                      1814.

[Footnote 88: 1827.

    ... to have her trust                                        1814.

[Footnote 89: 1836.

    Methought ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 90: 1845.

    Ere ...                                                      1814.

[Footnote 91: 1814.

    ... sad and drooping. Time had brought
    No tidings which might lead her anxious mind
    To a source of quiet; if her husband lived,                     C.

[Footnote 92: 1845.

    ... Once again
    I turned towards the garden gate, and saw,                   1814.

[Footnote 93: 1845.

    ... Towards the House
    Together we returned; and she enquired                       1814.

    ... Back to the house
    We turned together, silent, till she asked                     MS.

[Footnote 94: 1836.

    At length towards the Cottage I returned
    Fondly,--and traced, with interest more mild,                1814.

[Footnote 95: The lines from "Nor more would she" to "Sufferer" (934-9)
were added in 1845.]

[Footnote 96: 1845.

    ... ask no more;
    Be wise and chearful; and no longer read
    The forms of things with an unworthy eye.                    1814.

    ... ask no more:
    Doubt not that oft-times in her soul she felt
    The unbounded might of prayer--upon her knees
    Was taught that heavenly consolation springs
    From sources deeper far than deepest pain
    For the meek Sufferer. Why then should we read
    The forms of things with a dejected eye?                        C.

[Footnote 97: 1836.

    ... did to my heart convey                                   1814.

[Footnote 98: 1845.

    The passing shews ...                                        1814.

[Footnote 99: 1845.

    Appeared an idle dream, that could not live
    Where meditation was. I turned away                          1814.


[Footnote S: In a copy of the quarto edition of _The Excursion_ (1814)
bequeathed by the Poet to his grandson, the Rev. John Wordsworth, there
are numerous changes of text in his own handwriting, or that of his wife.
The majority of these were incorporated in later editions. Several of
them, however, were not. These are reproduced in this edition, wherever
it has been thought expedient to preserve them, and are indicated as
"MS." readings. On the fly-leaf of the same presentation copy of the 1814
edition, Mrs. Wordsworth wrote out Mr. R. P. Gillies' sonnet, addressed
to the author of _The Excursion_.--ED.]

[Footnote T: Compare _An Evening Walk_ (vol. i. p. 9)--

      When, in the south, the wan noon, brooding still,
    Breathed a pale steam around the glaring hill.                 ED.

[Footnote U: Compare _An Evening Walk_ (vol. i. p. 11)--

    And its own twilight softens the whole scene.                  ED.

[Footnote V: Compare the sonnet composed in boyhood, beginning--

    Sweet was the walk along the narrow lane,

and printed in an Appendix to vol. viii.--ED.]

[Footnote W: Compare the _Sonnet composed at ---- Castle_, in the
"Memorials of a Tour in Scotland," 1803 (vol. ii. p. 410)--

    A brotherhood of venerable Trees.                              ED.

[Footnote W1: Hawkshead. Compare the notes to _The Prelude_, in books
i. and ii. The Fenwick note tells us, "At Hawkshead, while I was a
schoolboy, there occasionally resided a Packman, with whom I had frequent
conversations upon what had befallen him, and what he had observed,
during his wandering life; and, as was natural, we took much to each

[Footnote X: Compare the _Elegiac Stansas, suggested by a Picture of
Peele Castle, in a Storm_ (vol. iii. p. 54)--

    The consecration, and the Poet's dream;

and the Discourse on Poetry in the Preface to the "Lyrical Ballads" of
1800. See the _Prose Works_.--ED.]

[Footnote Y: Compare Sir Henry Taylor, _Philip van Artevelde_, act 1.
scene v.--

    The world knows nothing of its greatest men.                   ED.

[Footnote Z: Compare Horace, _Epistles_ i. 17, 10--

    Nec vixit male qui natus moriensque fefellit.                  ED.

[Footnote AA: Compare _Elegiac Stanzas, suggested by a Picture of Peele
Castle_ (vol. iii. p. 54)--

    The light that never was, on sea or land.                      ED.

[Footnote AB: Compare _Resolution and Independence_, stanza xiv. (vol.
ii. p. 319)--

    Such as grave Livers do in Scotland use,
    Religious men, who give to God and man their dues.             ED.

[Footnote AC: Compare Byron, _Childe Harold_, canto iv. stanza clxxxiv.--

                                  From a boy
    I wantoned with thy breakers--they to me
    Were a delight; and if the freshening sea
    Made them a terror,--'twas a pleasing fear.                    ED.

[Footnote AD: Compare _Ode, Intimations of Immortality_, stanza ix. (vol.

            those obstinate questionings
    Of sense and outward things, etc.

and _The Prelude_, book ii. l. 350 (vol. iii. p. 164)--

                                    what I saw
    Appeared like something in myself, a dream,
    A prospect in the mind.                                        ED.

[Footnote AE: Compare Milton, _Il Penseroso_, l. 109--

    Or call up him that left half told
    The story of Cambuscan bold.                                   ED.

[Footnote AF: Compare _Lines Written in Early Spring_ (vol. i. p. 269)--

    And 'tis my faith that every flower
    Enjoys the air it breathes.                                    ED.

[Footnote AG: Compare _The Prelude_, book ii. l. 411 (vol. iii. p. 166)--

    Communing ...
    With every form of creature, as it looked
    Towards the Uncreated with a countenance
    Of adoration, with an eye of love.                             ED.

[Footnote AH: Compare book iv. ll. 111-14; also in Robert Browning's _Old
Pictures in Florence_, stanza i.--

    And washed by the morning water-gold,
      Florence lay out on the mountain-side.                       ED.

[Footnote AI: The sea is not visible from the hills of Athole, except
from the summit of Ben y' Gloe, where it can be seen to the south-east
in the clearest weather. Wordsworth did not care for local accuracy in
this passage. It was quite unnecessary for his purpose. Compare his
account of the morning walk near Hawkshead in _The Prelude_, and see the
Appendix-note to book iv. l. 338 (vol. iii. p. 389).--ED.]

[Footnote AJ: Compare _Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey_
(vol. ii. p. 54), in which Wordsworth speaks of the rock, the mountain,
and the wood, their colours and their forms, as an appetite, a feeling,
and a love--

    That had no need of a remoter charm,
    By thought supplied, nor any interest
    Unborrowed from the eye.                                       ED.

[Footnote AK: Compare the line in the sonnet on Milton (vol. ii. p. 346)--

    Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart.                     ED.

[Footnote AL: In this description of the eagle's birth-place, and the
peak "familiar with forgotten years," Wordsworth probably wandered in
imagination from the Athole district to Westmoreland, as this part
of the poem was in all likelihood written in 1801-2. He visited the
Athole country, with his sister, in 1803; going up as far as Blair, and
returning: but there is no peak in that district (at least none that he
would see) that shows

    Inscribed upon its visionary sides,
    The history of many a winter storm,
    Or obscure records of the path of fire,

as does, for example, the Stob Dearg in the Buchaile Etive Mor group in
Argyll, a peak which he saw in the course of his Scottish tour in that
year. --ED.]

[Footnote AM: Compare _Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey_
(vol. ii. p.54)--

                       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.                                                   ED.

[Footnote AN: With this description of the boy and youth, compare
Coleridge's words in _The Friend_, vol. iii. p. 46 (edition of 1818)--

"We have been discoursing of infancy, childhood, boyhood, and youth,
of pleasures lying upon the unfolding intellect plenteously as morning
dew-drops--of knowledge inhaled insensibly like the fragrance--of
dispositions stealing into the spirit like music from unknown
quarters--of images uncalled for and rising up like exhalations, of hopes
plucked like beautiful wild flowers from the ruined tombs that border
the highways of antiquity, to make a garland for a living forehead: in a
word, we have been treating of nature as a teacher of truth through joy
and through gladness, and as a creatress of the faculties by a process of
smoothness and delight. We have made no mention of fear, shame, sorrow,
nor of ungovernable and vexing thoughts; because, although these have
been and have done mighty service, they are overlooked in that stage of
life when youth is passing into manhood, overlooked or forgotten."--ED.]

[Footnote AO: Enterprise. Compare the poem _To Enterprise_, which,
Wordsworth says, "arose out of _The Italian Itinerant, and The Swiss
Goatherd_." Compare also the latter poem, No. xxv. of the "Memorials of a
Tour on the Continent" (1820).--ED.]

[Footnote AP: See Wordsworth's note, p. 383.]

[Footnote AQ: Compare the Preface to "Lyrical Ballads" (1800), in the
_Prose Works_.--ED.]

[Footnote AR: Compare _Simon Lee_, ll. 5-8 (vol. i. p. 263)--

    Full five-and-thirty years he lived
    A running huntsman merry;
    And still the centre of his cheek
    Is red as a ripe cherry.

Also the description of Margaret, p. 60 of this volume.--ED.]

[Footnote AS: Compare _Resolution and Independence_, stanza xiii. (vol.
ii. p. 318).]

[Footnote AT: Compare _Julius Cæsar_, act III. scene ii. l. 81--

    The good is oft interred with their bones.                     ED.

[Footnote AU: See Moschus's epitaph on Bion, 1-7--

     Αἴλινά μοι στοναχεῖτε νάπαι καὶ Δώρεον ὕδωρ,
    καὶ ποταμοὶ κλαίοιτε τὸν ἰμερόεντα Βίωνα.
    νῦν φυτά μοι μύρεσθε, καὶ ἄλσεα νῦν γοάοισθε.
    ἄνθεα νῦν στυγνοῖσιν ἀποπνείοιτε κορύμβοις.
    νῦν ῥόδα φοινίσσεσθε τὰ πένθιμα, νῦν ἀνεμῶναι,
    νῦν ὑάκινθε λάλει τὰ σα γράμματα, καὶ πλέον αἲ αἲ
    λάμβανε τοῖς πετάλοισι καλὸς τεθνακε μελικτάς.

And compare Virgil, Ecl. v. 27, 28; Georg. I. 466-488; Georg. IV.
461-463; Catullus, Carmen XXXI., _Ad Sirmionem Peninsulam_, the three
last lines. See also Theocritus, Idyll 3, and compare the philosophic
myths in the stories of Orpheus, Amphion, etc.--ED.]

[Footnote AV: Compare δν οἱ θεοὶ ϕιλοῦσιν, ἀποθνήσκει νέος.]

    Whom the gods love, die young.

Menander, quoted (amongst others) by Plutarch, _Consol. ad Apollonium_,
cap. 34. For other authorities, see Meineke's _Comicorum Græcorum

[Footnote AW: The hand-loom was common in many of the cottages of the
country, as well as in the manufacturing towns of England and Scotland,
until quite recently.--ED.]

[Footnote AX: Psalm ciii. 16.--ED.]

[Footnote AY: Compare λύοντες οὐκ ἤκουον.--(Æsch. _Prom_. v. 447.)

Also S. Matt. xiii. 13-15--

    They seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not.

And Shakespeare, _Richard III_. act IV. scene iv. 1. 26--

    Blind sight, dead life, poor mortal-living ghost.              ED.

[Footnote AZ: Compare _The Waggoner_, vol. iii. p. 77--

    In silence deeper far than that of deepest noon!               ED.

[Footnote BA: Compare _Resolution and Independence_, stanza xiii. (vol.
ii. p. 319)--

    Ere he replied, a flash of mild surprise
    Broke from the sable orbs of his yet-vivid eyes.               ED.

[Footnote BB: Compare Burns's _Epistle to William Simpson, Ochiltree_--

    Adoun some trotting burn's meander.                            ED.

[Footnote BC: Compare _Midsummer Night's Dream_, act 1. scene i. l. 211--

    Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass.                    ED.

[Footnote BD: _Sedum acre_.--ED.]

[Footnote BE: _Statice armerium_.--ED.]

[Footnote BF: _Convolvulus arvensis_.--ED.]

[Footnote BG: Mr. H. H. Turner suggests that this line would be more
naturally written,

    Bespake a hand of sleepy negligence.

The change would have been an improvement.--ED.]

[Footnote BH: "The scene of the first book of the poem is, I must own,
laid in a tract of country not sufficiently near to that which soon comes
into view in the second book, to agree with the fact. All that relates
to Margaret, and the ruined cottage, etc., was taken from observations
made in the south-west of England; and certainly it would require more
than seven-league boots to stretch in one morning, from a common in
Somersetshire, or Dorsetshire, to the heights of Furness Fells, and the
deep valleys they embosom."--I. F.

Compare with the first book of _The Excursion_ the first three books of
_The Prelude_.--ED.]

[Footnote BI: Compare stanza xi. in the _Ode, Intimations of Immortality_
(vol. viii.)--

    To me the meanest flower that blows can give
    Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.                 ED.

=Book Second=



    _The Author describes his travels with the Wanderer, whose
    character is further illustrated--Morning scene, and view of a
    Village Wake--Wanderer's account of a Friend whom he purposes to
    visit--View, from an eminence, of the Valley which his Friend
    had chosen for his retreat[100]--Sound of singing from below--A
    funeral procession--Descent into the Valley--Observations drawn
    from the Wanderer at sight of a book accidentally discovered
    in a recess in the Valley--Meeting with the Wanderer's friend,
    the Solitary--Wanderer's description of the mode of burial
    in this mountainous district--Solitary contrasts with this,
    that of the individual carried a few minutes before from the
    cottage[101]--The cottage entered--Description of the Solitary's
    apartment--Repast there--View, from the window, of two mountain
    summits; and the Solitary's description of the companionship
    they afford him--Account of the departed inmate of the
    cottage--Description of a grand spectacle upon the mountains,
    with its effect upon the Solitary's mind--Leave[102] the house._

    In days of yore how fortunately fared
    The Minstrel! wandering on from hall to hall,
    Baronial court or royal; cheered with gifts
    Munificent, and love, and ladies' praise;
    Now meeting on his road an armed knight,                       5
    Now resting with a pilgrim by the side
    Of a clear brook;--beneath an abbey's roof
    One evening sumptuously lodged; the next,
    Humbly in a religious hospital;
    Or with some merry outlaws of the wood;                       10
    Or haply shrouded in a hermit's cell.
    Him, sleeping or awake, the robber spared;
    He walked--protected from the sword of war
    By virtue of that sacred instrument
    His harp, suspended at the traveller's side;                  15
    His dear companion wheresoe'er he went
    Opening from land to land an easy way
    By melody, and by the charm of verse.
    Yet not the noblest of that honoured Race
    Drew happier, loftier, more empassioned, thoughts             20
    From his long journeyings and eventful life,
    Than this obscure Itinerant had skill
    To gather, ranging through the tamer ground[103]
    Of these our unimaginative days;
    Both while he trod the earth in humblest guise                25
    Accoutred with his burthen and his staff;
    And now, when free to move with lighter pace.

      What wonder, then, if I, whose favourite school
    Hath been the fields, the roads, and rural lanes,
    [104]Looked on this guide with reverential love?              30
    Each with the other pleased, we now pursued
    Our journey, under[105] favourable skies.
    Turn wheresoe'er we would, he was a light
    Unfailing: not a hamlet could we pass,
    Rarely a house, that[106] did not yield to him                35
    Remembrances; or from his tongue call forth
    Some way-beguiling tale. Nor less regard
    Accompanied those strains of apt discourse,
    Which nature's various objects might inspire;[107]
    And in the silence of his face I read                         40
    His overflowing spirit. Birds and beasts,
    And the mute fish that glances in the stream,
    And harmless reptile coiling in the sun,
    And gorgeous insect hovering in the air,
    The fowl domestic, and the household dog--                    45
    In his capacious mind, he loved them all:
    Their rights acknowledging he felt for all.
    Oft was occasion given me to perceive
    How the calm pleasures of the pasturing herd
    To happy contemplation soothed his walk;                      50
    [108]How the poor brute's condition, forced to run
    Its course of suffering in the public road,
    Sad contrast! all too often smote his heart
    With unavailing pity. Rich in love
    And sweet humanity, he was, himself,                          55
    To the degree that he desired, beloved.
    Smiles of good-will from faces that he knew
    Greeted us all day long;[109] we took our seats
    By many a cottage-hearth, where he received
    The welcome of an Inmate from afar,[110]                      60
    And I at once forgot, I was a Stranger.[111]
    --Nor was he loth to enter ragged huts,
    Huts where his charity[112] was blest; his voice
    Heard as the voice of an experienced friend.                  64
    And, sometimes--where the poor man held dispute
    With his own mind, unable to subdue
    Impatience through inaptness to perceive
    General distress in his particular lot;
    Or cherishing resentment, or in vain
    Struggling against it; with a soul perplexed,                 70
    And finding in herself[113] no steady power
    To draw the line of comfort that divides
    Calamity, the chastisement of Heaven,
    From the injustice of our brother men--
    To him appeal was made as to a judge;                         75
    Who, with an understanding heart, allayed
    The perturbation; listened to the plea;
    Resolved the dubious point; and sentence gave
    So grounded, so applied, that it was heard
    With softened spirit, even when it condemned.                 80

      Such intercourse I witnessed, while we roved,
    Now as his choice directed, now as mine;
    Or both, with equal readiness of will,
    Our course submitting to the changeful breeze
    Of accident. But when the rising sun                          85
    Had three times called us to renew our walk,
    My Fellow-traveller, with earnest voice,
    As if the thought were but a moment old,
    Claimed absolute dominion for the day.[114]
    We started--and he led me toward the hills,[115]              90
    Up through an ample vale, with higher hills
    Before us, mountains stern and desolate;[BJ]
    But, in the majesty of distance, now
    Set off, and to our ken appearing fair
    Of aspect, with aërial softness clad,                         95
    And beautified with morning's purple beams.

      The wealthy, the luxurious, by the stress
    Of business roused, or pleasure, ere their time,
    May roll in chariots, or provoke the hoofs
    Of the fleet coursers they bestride, to raise                100
    From earth the dust of morning, slow to rise;
    And they, if blest with health and hearts at ease,
    Shall lack not their enjoyment:--but how faint
    Compared with ours! who, pacing side by side,
    Could, with an eye of leisure, look on all                   105
    That we beheld; and lend the listening sense
    To every grateful sound of earth and air;
    Pausing at will--our spirits braced, our thoughts
    Pleasant as roses in the thickets blown,
    And pure as dew bathing their crimson leaves.                110

      Mount slowly, sun! that we may journey long,
    By this dark hill protected from thy beams![116]
    Such is the summer pilgrim's frequent wish;
    But quickly from among our morning thoughts[117]
    'Twas chased away: for, toward[118] the western side
    Of the broad vale, casting a casual glance,                  116
    We saw a throng of people;--wherefore met?
    Blithe notes of music, suddenly let loose
    On the thrilled ear, and flags uprising, yield[119]
    Prompt answer; they proclaim the annual Wake,[BK]            120
    Which the bright season favours.--Tabor and pipe
    In purpose join to hasten or[120] reprove
    The laggard Rustic; and repay with boons
    Of merriment a party-coloured knot,
    Already formed upon the village-green.                       125
    --Beyond the limits of the shadow cast
    By the broad hill,[BL] glistened upon our sight
    That gay assemblage. Round them and above,
    Glitter, with dark recesses interposed,
    Casement, and cottage-roof, and stems of trees               130
    Half-veiled in vapoury cloud, the silver steam
    Of dews fast melting on their leafy boughs
    By the strong sunbeams smitten. Like a mast
    Of gold, the Maypole shines; as if the rays
    Of morning, aided by exhaling dew,                           135
    With gladsome influence could re-animate
    The faded garlands dangling from its sides.

      Said I, "The music and the sprightly scene
    Invite us; shall we quit our road, and join
    These festive matins?"--He replied, "Not loth                140
    To linger I would here[121] with you partake,
    Not one hour merely, but till evening's close,
    The simple pastimes of the day and place.
    By the fleet Racers, ere the sun be set,
    The turf of yon large pasture will be skimmed;               145
    There, too, the lusty Wrestlers shall[122] contend:
    But know we not that he, who intermits
    The appointed task and duties of the day,
    Untunes full oft the pleasures of the day;
    Checking the finer spirits that refuse                       150
    To flow, when purposes are lightly changed?
    A length of journey yet remains untraced:
    Let us proceed."[123] Then, pointing with his staff
    Raised toward those craggy summits,[124] his intent
    He thus imparted:--
                       "In a spot that lies                      155
    Among yon mountain fastnesses concealed,[BM]
    You will receive, before the hour of noon,
    Good recompense, I hope, for this day's toil,
    From sight of One who lives secluded there,
    Lonesome and lost: of whom, and whose past life,             160
    (Not to forestall such knowledge as may be
    More faithfully collected from himself)
    This brief communication shall suffice.

       "Though now sojourning there, he, like myself,
    Sprang from a stock of lowly parentage                       165
    Among the wilds of Scotland, in a tract
    Where many a sheltered and well-tended plant,
    Bears, on the humblest ground of social life,
    Blossoms of piety and innocence.[125]
    Such grateful promises his youth displayed:                  170
    And, having shown in study forward zeal,
    He to the Ministry was duly called;
    And straight, incited by a curious mind
    Filled with vague hopes, he undertook the charge[126]
    Of Chaplain to a military troop[BN]                          175
    Cheered by the Highland bagpipe, as they marched
    In plaided vest,--his fellow-countrymen.
    This office filling, yet[127] by native power
    And force of native inclination made
    An intellectual ruler in the haunts                          180
    Of social vanity, he walked the world,
    Gay, and affecting graceful gaiety;
    Lax, buoyant--less a pastor with his flock
    Than a soldier among soldiers--lived and roamed              184
    Where Fortune led:--and Fortune, who oft proves
    The careless wanderer's friend, to him made known
    A blooming Lady--a conspicuous flower,
    Admired for beauty, for her sweetness praised;
    Whom he had sensibility to love,
    Ambition to attempt, and skill to win.                       190

      "For this fair Bride, most rich in gifts of mind,
    Nor sparingly endowed with worldly wealth,
    His office he relinquished; and retired
    From the world's notice to a rural home.
    Youth's season yet with him was scarcely past,               195
    And she was in youth's prime. How free their love,
    How full their joy! 'Till, pitiable doom![128]
    In the short course of one undreaded year,
    Death blasted all. Death suddenly o'erthrew
    Two lovely Children--all that they possessed!                200
    The Mother followed:--miserably bare
    The one Survivor stood; he wept, he prayed
    For his dismissal, day and night, compelled
    To hold communion with the grave, and face
    With pain the regions of eternity.[129]                      205
    An uncomplaining apathy displaced
    This anguish; and, indifferent to delight,
    To aim and purpose, he consumed his days,
    To private interest dead, and public care.
    So lived he; so he might have died.
                                         "But now,               210
    To the wide world's astonishment, appeared
    A[130] glorious opening, the unlooked-for dawn,
    That promised everlasting joy to France![BO]
    Her voice of social transport[131] reached even him!
    He broke from his contracted bounds, repaired                215
    To the great City, an emporium then
    Of golden expectations, and receiving
    Freights every day from a new world of hope.
    Thither his popular talents he transferred;
    And, from the pulpit, zealously maintained                   220
    The cause of Christ and civil liberty,
    As one, and moving to one glorious end.
    Intoxicating service! I might say
    A happy service; for he was sincere
    As vanity and fondness for applause,                         225
    And new and shapeless wishes, would allow.

      "That righteous cause (such power hath freedom) bound,
    For one hostility, in friendly league,[132]
    Ethereal natures and the worst of slaves;
    Was served by rival advocates that came                      230
    From regions opposite as heaven and hell.
    One courage seemed to animate them all:
    And, from the dazzling conquests daily gained
    By their united efforts, there arose
    A proud and most presumptuous confidence                     235
    In the transcendent wisdom of the age,
    And her[133] discernment; not alone in rights,
    And in the origin and bounds of power
    Social and temporal; but in laws divine,
    Deduced by reason, or to faith revealed.                     240
    An overweening trust was raised; and fear
    Cast out, alike of person and of thing.
    Plague from this union spread, whose subtle bane
    The strongest did not easily escape;
    And He, what wonder! took a mortal taint.                    245
    How shall I trace the change, how bear to tell
    That he broke faith with them[134] whom he had laid
    In earth's dark chambers, with a Christian's hope!
    An infidel contempt of holy writ
    Stole by degrees upon his mind; and hence                    250
    Life, like that Roman Janus, double-faced;
    Vilest hypocrisy--the laughing, gay
    Hypocrisy, not leagued with fear, but pride.
    Smooth words he had to wheedle simple souls;
    But, for disciples of the inner school,                      255
    Old freedom was old servitude, and they
    The wisest whose opinions stooped the least
    To known restraints; and who most boldly drew
    Hopeful prognostications from a creed,
    That,[135] in the light of false philosophy,                 260
    Spread like a halo round a misty moon,
    Widening its circle as the storms advance.

      "His sacred function was at length renounced;
    And every day and every place enjoyed
    The unshackled layman's natural liberty;                     265
    Speech, manners, morals, all without disguise.
    I do not wish to wrong him; though the course
    Of private life licentiously displayed
    Unhallowed actions--planted like a crown
    Upon the insolent aspiring brow                              270
    Of spurious notions--worn as open signs
    Of prejudice subdued--still he[136] retained,
    'Mid much[137] abasement, what he had received
    From nature, an intense and glowing mind.
    Wherefore, when humbled Liberty grew weak,                   275
    And mortal sickness on her face appeared,
    He coloured objects to his own desire
    As with a lover's passion. Yet his moods
    Of pain were keen as those of better men,
    Nay keener, as his fortitude was less:                       280
    And he continued, when worse days were come,
    To deal about his sparkling eloquence,
    Struggling against the strange reverse with zeal
    That showed like happiness. But, in despite
    Of all this outside bravery, within,                         285
    He neither felt encouragement nor hope:
    For moral dignity, and strength of mind,
    Were wanting; and simplicity of life;
    And reverence for himself; and, last and best,
    Confiding thoughts, through[138] love and fear of Him
    Before whose sight the troubles of this world                291
    Are vain, as billows in a tossing sea.

      "The glory of the times fading away--
    The splendour, which had given a festal air
    To self-importance, hallowed it, and veiled                  295
    From his own sight--this gone, he forfeited[139]
    All joy in human nature; was consumed,
    And vexed, and chafed, by levity and scorn,
    And fruitless indignation; galled by pride;
    Made desperate by contempt of men who throve                 300
    Before his sight in power or fame, and won,
    Without desert, what he desired; weak men,
    Too weak even for his envy or his hate!
    Tormented thus, after a wandering course
    Of discontent, and inwardly opprest[140]                     305
    With malady--in part, I fear, provoked
    By weariness of life--he fixed his home,
    Or, rather say, sate down by very chance,
    Among these rugged hills; where now he dwells,
    And wastes the sad remainder of his hours,                   310
    Steeped in a self-indulging spleen, that wants not[141]
    Its own voluptuousness;--on this resolved,
    With this content, that he will live and die
    Forgotten,--at safe distance from 'a world
    Not moving to his mind.'"[BP]
                                 These serious words             315
    Closed the preparatory notices
    That served my Fellow-traveller to beguile[142]
    The way, while we advanced up that wide vale.[BQ]
    Diverging now (as if his quest had been[143]
    Some secret of the mountains, cavern, fall                   320
    Of water, or some lofty eminence,[144]
    Renowned for splendid prospect far and wide)
    We scaled, without a track to ease our steps,
    A steep ascent;[BR] and reached a dreary plain,[145][BS]
    With a tumultuous waste of huge hill tops                    325
    Before us;[BT] savage region! which I paced
    Dispirited:[146] when, all at once, behold!
    Beneath our feet, a little lowly vale,[BU]
    A lowly vale, and yet uplifted high
    Among the mountains; even as if the spot                     330
    Had been from eldest time by wish of theirs
    So placed, to be shut out from all the world!
    Urn-like it was in shape, deep as an urn;[BU]
    With rocks encompassed, save that to the south               334
    Was one small opening,[BV] where a heath-clad ridge
    Supplied a boundary less abrupt and close;
    A quiet treeless nook, with two green fields,[BW]
    A liquid pool that glittered in the sun,[BX]
    And one bare dwelling; one abode, no more![BY]
    It seemed the home of poverty and toil,                      340
    Though not of want: the little fields, made green
    By husbandry of many thrifty years,
    Paid cheerful tribute to the moorland house.
    --There crows the cock, single in his domain:
    The small birds find in spring no thicket there              345
    To shroud them; only from the neighbouring vales
    The cuckoo, straggling up to the hill tops,
    Shouteth faint tidings of some gladder place.

      Ah! what a sweet Recess, thought I, is here!
    Instantly throwing down my limbs at ease                     350
    Upon a bed of heath;--full many a spot
    Of hidden beauty have I chanced to espy
    Among the mountains; never one like this;
    So lonesome, and so perfectly secure;
    Not melancholy--no, for it is green,                         355
    And bright, and fertile, furnished in itself
    With the few needful things that[147] life requires.
    --In rugged arms how softly does it lie,[148]
    How tenderly protected! Far and near
    We have an image of the pristine earth,                      360
    The planet in its nakedness: were this
    Man's only dwelling, sole appointed seat,
    First, last, and single, in the breathing world,
    It could not be more quiet: peace is here
    Or nowhere; days unruffled by the gale                       365
    Of public news or private; years that pass
    Forgetfully; uncalled upon to pay
    The common penalties of mortal life,
    Sickness, or accident, or grief, or pain.

      On these and kindred thoughts intent I lay                 370
    In silence musing by my Comrade's side,[149]
    He also silent; when from out the heart
    Of that profound abyss a solemn voice,
    Or several voices in one solemn sound,
    Was heard ascending; mournful, deep, and slow                375
    The cadence, as of psalms--a funeral dirge![BZ]
    We listened, looking down upon the hut,[150]
    But seeing no one: meanwhile from below
    The strain continued, spiritual as before;
    And now distinctly could I recognise                         380
    These words:--'_Shall in the grave thy love be known,_
    _In death thy faithfulness?_'--"God rest his soul!"[151]
    Said the old man,[152] abruptly breaking silence,--
    "He is departed, and finds peace at last!"
      This scarcely spoken, and those holy strains               385
    Not ceasing, forth appeared in view a band
    Of rustic persons, from behind the hut
    Bearing a coffin in the midst, with which
    They shaped their course along the sloping side
    Of that small valley, singing as they moved;[CA]             390
    A sober company and few, the men
    Bare-headed, and all decently attired!
    Some steps when they had thus advanced, the dirge
    Ended; and, from the stillness that ensued
    Recovering, to my Friend I said, "You spake,                 395
    Methought, with apprehension that these rites
    Are paid to Him upon whose shy retreat
    This day we purposed to intrude."--"I did so,
    But let us hence, that we may learn the truth:
    Perhaps it is not he[153] but some one else                  400
    For whom this pious service is performed;
    Some other tenant of the solitude."

      So, to a steep and difficult descent
    Trusting ourselves, we wound from crag to crag,
    Where passage could be won;[CB] and, as the last             405
    Of the mute train, behind[154] the heathy top
    Of that off-sloping outlet,[CC] disappeared,
    I, more impatient in my downward course,[155]
    Had landed upon easy ground; and there
    Stood waiting for my Comrade. When behold                    410
    An object that enticed my steps aside!
    A narrow, winding, entry opened out[156]
    Into a platform--that lay, sheepfold-wise,
    Enclosed between an upright[157] mass of rock
    And one old moss-grown wall;--a cool recess,                 415
    And fanciful! For where the rock and wall
    Met in an angle, hung a penthouse, framed
    By thrusting two rude staves into the wall[158]
    And overlaying them with mountain sods;
    To weather-fend a little turf-built seat                     420
    Whereon a full-grown man might rest, nor dread
    The burning sunshine, or a transient shower;
    But the whole plainly wrought by children's hands![CD]
    Whose skill had thronged the floor with a proud show[159]
    Of baby-houses, curiously arranged;                          425
    Nor wanting ornament of walks between,
    With mimic trees inserted in the turf,
    And gardens interposed. Pleased with the sight,
    I could not choose but beckon to my Guide,                   429
    Who, entering, round him threw a careless glance,
    Impatient to pass on, when I exclaimed,[160]
    "Lo! what is here?" and, stooping down, drew forth
    A book, that, in the midst of stones and moss
    And wreck of party-coloured earthen-ware,[CE]
    Aptly disposed, had lent its help to raise                   435
    One of those petty structures. "His it must be!"
    Exclaimed the Wanderer, "cannot but be his,[161]
    And he is gone!"[162] The book, which in my hand
    Had opened of itself (for it was swoln
    With searching damp, and seemingly had lain                  440
    To the injurious elements exposed
    From week to week,) I found to be a work
    In the French tongue, a Novel of Voltaire,
    His famous Optimist. "Unhappy Man!"                          444
    Exclaimed my Friend: "here then has been to him
    Retreat within retreat, a sheltering-place
    Within how deep a shelter! He had fits,
    Even to the last, of genuine tenderness,
    And loved the haunts of children: here, no doubt,
    Pleasing and pleased, he shared their simple sports,
    Or sate companionless; and here the book,                    451
    Left and forgotten in his careless way,
    Must by the cottage-children have been found:[163]
    Heaven bless them, and their inconsiderate work!
    To what odd purpose have the darlings turned                 455
    This sad memorial of their hapless friend!"

      "Me," said I, "most doth it surprise, to find
    Such book in such a place!"--" A book it is,"
    He answered,"to the Person suited well,
    Though little suited to surrounding things:                  460
    'Tis strange, I grant; and stranger still had been
    To see the Man who owned it, dwelling here,[164]
    With one poor shepherd, far from all the world!--
    Now, if our errand hath been thrown away,
    As from these intimations I forebode,                        465
    Grieved shall I be--less for my sake than yours,
    And least of all for him who is no more."

      By this, the book was in the old Man's hand;
    And he continued, glancing on the leaves                     469
    An eye of scorn:--"The lover," said he, "doomed
    To love when hope hath failed him--whom no depth
    Of privacy is deep enough to hide,
    Hath yet his bracelet or his lock of hair,
    And that is joy to him. When change of times
    Hath summoned kings to scaffolds, do but give                475
    The faithful servant, who must hide his head
    Henceforth in whatsoever nook he may,
    A kerchief sprinkled with his master's blood,
    And he too hath his comforter. How poor,
    Beyond all poverty how destitute,                            480
    Must that Man have been left, who, hither driven,
    Flying or seeking, could yet bring with him
    No dearer relique, and no better stay,
    Than this dull product of a scoffer's pen,[CF]
    Impure conceits discharging from a heart                     485
    Hardened by impious pride!--I did not fear
    To tax you with this journey;"--mildly said
    My venerable Friend, as forth we stepped
    Into the presence of the cheerful light--
    "For I have knowledge that you do not shrink                 490
    From moving spectacles;--but let us on."

      So speaking, on he went, and at the word
    I followed, till he made a sudden stand:
    For full in view, approaching through a[165] gate
    That opened from the enclosure of green fields               495
    Into the rough uncultivated ground,[CG]
    Behold the Man whom he had fancied dead!
    I knew from his deportment, mien, and dress,[166]
    That it could be no other; a pale face,
    A meagre person, tall, and in a garb[167]                    500
    Not rustic--dull and faded like himself!
    He saw us not, though distant but few steps;
    For he was busy, dealing, from a store
    Upon a broad leaf carried, choicest strings
    Of red ripe currants;[168] gift by which he strove,          505
    With intermixture of endearing words,
    To soothe a Child, who walked beside him, weeping
    As if disconsolate.--"They to the grave
    Are bearing him, my Little-one," he said,
    "To the dark pit; but he will feel no pain;                  510
    His body is at rest, his soul in heaven."

      More might have followed--but my honoured Friend
    Broke in upon the Speaker with a frank
    And cordial greeting.--Vivid was the light                   514
    That flashed and sparkled from the other's eyes;[169][CH]
    He was all fire: no shadow on his brow
    Remained, nor sign of sickness on his face.[170]
    Hands joined he with his Visitant,--a grasp,
    An eager grasp; and many moments' space--
    When the first glow of pleasure was no more,                 520
    And, of the sad appearance which at once
    Had vanished, much was come and coming back--[171]
    An amicable smile retained the life
    Which it had unexpectedly received,
    Upon his hollow cheek. "How kind," he said,                  525
    "Nor could your coming have been better timed;
    For this, you see, is in our narrow[172] world
    A day of sorrow. I have here a charge"--
    And, speaking thus, he patted tenderly
    The sun-burnt forehead of the weeping child--                530
    "A little mourner, whom it is my task
    To comfort;--but how came ye?--if yon track
    (Which doth at once befriend us and betray)
    Conducted hither your most welcome feet,
    Ye could not miss the funeral train--they yet                535
    Have scarcely disappeared." "This blooming Child,"
    Said the old Man, "is of an age to weep
    At any grave or solemn spectacle,
    Inly distressed or overpowered with awe,
    He knows not wherefore;--but the boy to-day,                 540
    Perhaps is shedding orphan's tears; you also[173]
    Must have sustained a loss."--"The hand of Death,"
    He answered, "has been here; but could not well
    Have fallen more lightly, if it had not fallen
    Upon myself."--The other left these words                    545
    Unnoticed, thus continuing--
                                "From yon crag,
    Down whose steep sides we dropped into the vale,
    We heard the hymn they sang--a solemn sound
    Heard any where; but in a place like this
    'Tis more than human! Many precious rites                    550
    And customs of our rural ancestry
    Are gone, or stealing from us; this, I hope,
    Will last for ever.[CI] Oft on my way have I
    Stood still, though but a casual passenger,
    So much I felt the awfulness of life,[174]                   555
    In that one moment when the corse is lifted
    In silence, with a hush of decency;
    Then from the threshold moves with song of peace,
    And confidential yearnings, tow'rds its home,
    Its final home on earth.[175] What traveller--who--          560
    (How far soe'er a stranger) does not own
    The bond of brotherhood, when he sees them go,
    A mute procession on the houseless road;
    Or passing by some single tenement
    Or clustered dwellings, where again they raise               565
    The monitory voice? But most of all
    It touches, it confirms, and elevates,
    Then, when the body, soon to be consigned
    Ashes to ashes, dust bequeathed to dust,
    Is raised from the church-aisle, and forward borne           570
    Upon the shoulders of the next in love,
    The nearest in affection or in blood;
    Yea, by the very mourners who had knelt
    Beside the coffin, resting on its lid
    In silent grief their unuplifted heads,[CJ]                  575
    And heard meanwhile the Psalmist's mournful plaint,
    And that most awful scripture which declares
    We shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed!
    --Have I not seen--ye likewise may have seen--
    Son, husband, brothers--brothers side by side,               580
    And son and father also side by side,
    Rise from that posture:--and in concert move,
    On the green turf following the vested Priest,
    Four dear supporters of one senseless weight,
    From which they do not shrink, and under which               585
    They faint not, but advance towards the open grave[176]
    Step after step--together, with their firm
    Unhidden faces: he that suffers most,
    He outwardly, and inwardly perhaps,
    The most serene, with most undaunted eye!--                  590
    Oh! blest are they who live and die like these,
    Loved with such love, and with such sorrow mourned!"

      "That poor Man taken hence to-day," replied
    The Solitary, with a faint sarcastic smile
    Which did not please me, "must be deemed, I fear,
    Of the unblest; for he will surely sink                      596
    Into his mother earth without such pomp
    Of grief, depart without occasion given
    By him for such array of fortitude.
    Full seventy winters hath he lived, and mark!                600
    This simple Child will mourn his one short hour,
    And I shall miss him; scanty tribute! yet,
    This wanting, he would leave the sight of men,
    If love were his sole claim upon their care,
    Like a ripe date which in the desert falls                   605
    Without a hand to gather it."
                                    At this
    I interposed, though loth to speak, and said,
    "Can it be thus among so small a band
    As ye must needs be here? in such a place
    I would not willingly, methinks, lose sight                  610
    Of a departing cloud."--"'Twas not for love"
    Answered the sick Man with a careless voice--
    "That I came hither; neither have I found
    Among associates who have power of speech,
    Nor in such other converse as is here,                       615
    Temptation so prevailing as to change
    That mood, or undermine my first resolve."
    Then, speaking in like careless sort, he said
    To my benign Companion,--"Pity 'tis
    That fortune did not guide you to this house                 620
    A few days earlier; then would you have seen
    What stuff the Dwellers in a solitude,
    That seems by Nature hollowed out to be
    The seat and bosom of pure innocence,[177]
    Are made of, an ungracious matter this!                      625
    Which, for truth's sake, yet in remembrance too
    Of past discussions with this zealous friend
    And advocate of humble life, I now
    Will force upon his notice; undeterred
    By the example of his own pure course,                       630
    And that respect and deference which a soul
    May fairly claim, by niggard age enriched
    In what she most doth value, love of God[178]
    And his frail creature Man;--but ye shall hear.
    I talk--and ye are standing in the sun                       635
    Without refreshment!"
                           Quickly had he spoken,
    And, with light steps still quicker than his words,
    Led toward the Cottage. Homely was the spot;[179]
    And, to my feeling, ere we reached the door,
    Had almost a forbidding nakedness;                           640
    Less fair, I grant, even painfully less fair,
    Than it appeared when from the beetling rock[180]
    We had looked down upon it. All within,
    As left by the[181] departed company,
    Was silent; save the solitary clock                          645
    That on mine ear ticked with a mournful sound.--[182]
    Following our Guide, we clomb the cottage-stairs
    And reached a small apartment dark and low,
    Which was no sooner entered than our Host
    Said gaily, "This is my domain, my cell,                     650
    My hermitage, my cabin, what you will--
    I love it better than a snail his house.
    But now ye shall be feasted with our best."[CK]

      So, with more ardour than an unripe girl
    Left one day mistress of her mother's stores,                655
    He went about his hospitable task.
    My eyes were busy, and my thoughts no less,
    And pleased I looked upon my grey-haired Friend,
    As if to thank him; he returned that look,
    Cheered, plainly, and yet serious. What a wreck              660
    Had we about us![183] scattered was the floor,
    And, in like sort, chair, window-seat, and shelf,
    With books, maps, fossils, withered plants and flowers,
    And tufts of mountain moss. Mechanic tools
    Lay intermixed with scraps of paper, some[184]               665
    Scribbled with verse: a broken angling-rod
    And shattered telescope, together linked
    By cobwebs, stood within a dusty nook;
    And instruments of music, some half-made,
    Some in disgrace, hung dangling from the walls.              670
    But speedily the promise was fulfilled;
    A feast before us, and a[185] courteous Host
    Inviting us in glee to sit and eat.
    A napkin, white as foam of that rough brook
    By which it had been bleached, o'erspread the board;
    And was itself half-covered with a store[186]                676
    Of dainties,--oaten bread, curd,[187] cheese, and cream;
    And cakes of butter curiously embossed,
    Butter that had imbibed from meadow-flowers
    A golden hue, delicate as their own                          680
    Faintly reflected in a lingering stream."[188]
    Nor lacked, for more delight on that warm day,
    Our table small parade of garden fruits,
    And whortle-berries from the mountain side.
    The Child, who long ere this had stilled his sobs,           685
    Was now[189] a help to his late comforter,
    And moved, a willing Page, as he was bid,
    Ministering to our need.
                             In genial mood,
    While at our pastoral banquet thus we sate
    Fronting the window of that little cell,                     690
    I could not, ever and anon, forbear
    To glance an upward look on two huge Peaks,
    That from some other vale peered into this.[CL]
    "Those lusty twins," exclaimed our host, "if here
    It were your lot to dwell, would soon become[190]            695
    Your prized companions.--Many are the notes
    Which, in his tuneful course, the wind draws forth
    From rocks, woods, caverns, heaths, and dashing shores;
    And well those lofty brethren bear their part
    In the wild concert--chiefly when the storm                  700
    Rides high; then all the upper air they fill
    With roaring sound, that ceases not to flow,
    Like smoke, along the level of the blast,
    In mighty current; theirs, too, is the song
    Of stream and headlong flood that seldom fails;              705
    And, in the grim and breathless hour of noon,
    Methinks that I have heard them echo back
    The thunder's greeting. Nor have nature's laws
    Left them ungifted with a power to yield
    Music of finer tone;[191] a harmony,                         710
    So do I call it, though it be the hand
    Of silence, though there be no voice;--the clouds,
    The mist, the shadows, light of golden suns,
    Motions of moonlight, all come thither--touch,
    And have an answer--thither come, and shape                  715
    A language not unwelcome to sick hearts
    And idle spirits:--there the sun himself,
    At the calm close of summer's longest day,[CM]
    Rests his substantial orb;--between those heights
    And on the top of either pinnacle,                           720
    More keenly than elsewhere in night's blue vault,
    Sparkle the stars, as of their station proud.
    Thoughts are not busier in the mind of man
    Than the mute agents stirring there:--alone
    Here do I sit and watch."--[CN]
                              A fall of voice,                   725
    Regretted like the nightingale's last note,
    Had scarcely closed this high-wrought strain of rapture
    Ere with inviting smile the Wanderer said:[192]
    "Now for the tale with which you threatened us!"
    "In truth the threat escaped me unawares:                    730
    Should the tale tire you, let this challenge stand
    For my excuse. Dissevered from mankind,
    As to your eyes and thoughts we must have seemed[193]
    When ye looked down upon us from the crag,
    Islanders mid[194] a stormy mountain sea,                    735
    We are not so;--perpetually we touch
    Upon the vulgar ordinances[195] of the world;
    And he, whom this our cottage hath to-day
    Relinquished, lived[196] dependent for his bread
    Upon the laws of public charity.                             740
    The Housewife, tempted by such slender gains
    As might from that occasion be distilled,
    Opened, as she before had done for me,
    Her doors to admit this homeless Pensioner;
    The portion gave of coarse but wholesome fare                745
    Which appetite required--a blind dull nook,
    Such as she had, the _kennel_ of his rest!
    This, in itself not ill, would yet have been
    Ill borne in earlier life; but his was now
    The still contentedness of seventy years.                    750
    Calm did he sit under[197] the wide-spread tree
    Of his old age: and yet less calm and meek,
    Winningly meek or venerably calm,
    Than slow and torpid; paying in this wise
    A penalty, if penalty it were,                               755
    For spendthrift feats, excesses of his prime.
    I loved the old Man, for I pitied him!
    A task it was, I own, to hold discourse
    With one so slow in gathering up his thoughts,
    But he was a cheap pleasure to my eyes;                      760
    Mild, inoffensive, ready in _his_ way,
    And helpful[198] to his utmost power: and there
    Our housewife knew full well what she possessed
    He was her vassal of all labour, tilled
    Her garden, from the pasture fetched her kine;               765
    And, one among the orderly array
    Of hay-makers, beneath the burning sun
    Maintained his place; or heedfully pursued
    His course, on errands bound, to other vales,
    Leading sometimes an inexperienced child                     770
    Too young for any profitable task.
    So moved he like a shadow that performed
    Substantial service.[CO] Mark me now, and learn
    For what reward!--The moon her monthly round
    Hath not completed since our dame, the queen                 775
    Of this one cottage and this lonely dale,
    Into my little sanctuary rushed--
    Voice to a rueful treble humanised,
    And features in deplorable dismay.
    I treat the matter lightly, but, alas!                       780
    It is most serious: persevering rain[199]
    Had fallen in torrents; all the mountain tops
    Were hidden, and black vapours coursed their sides;
    This had I seen, and saw; but, till she spake,
    Was wholly ignorant that my ancient Friend--                 785
    Who at her bidding, early and alone,
    Had clomb aloft to delve the moorland[200] turf
    For winter fuel--to his noontide meal
    Returned not, and now, haply, on the heights[201]
    Lay at the mercy of this raging storm.                       790
    'Inhuman!'--said I, 'was an old Man's life
    Not worth the trouble of a thought?--alas!
    This notice comes too late.' With joy I saw
    Her husband enter--from a distant vale.
    We sallied forth together; found the tools                   795
    Which the neglected veteran had dropped,
    But through all quarters looked for him in vain.
    We shouted--but no answer! Darkness fell
    Without remission of the blast or shower,
    And fears for our own safety drove us home.                  800

      "I, who weep little, did, I will confess,
    The moment I was seated here alone,
    Honour my little cell with some few tears
    Which anger and[202] resentment could not dry.
    All night the storm endured; and, soon as help               805
    Had been collected from the neighbouring vale,
    With morning we renewed our quest: the wind
    Was fallen, the rain abated, but the hills
    Lay shrouded in impenetrable mist;
    And long and hopelessly we sought in vain:                   810
    'Till, chancing on that[203] lofty ridge to pass
    A heap of ruin--almost without walls
    And wholly without roof (the bleached remains
    Of a small chapel, where, in ancient time,
    The peasants of these lonely valleys used                    815
    To meet for worship on that central height)--
    We there espied the object of our search,[204]
    Lying full three parts buried among tufts
    Of heath-plant, under and above him strewn,
    To baffle, as he might, the watery storm:                    820
    And there we found him breathing peaceably,
    Snug as a child that hides itself in sport
    'Mid a green hay-cock in a sunny field.
    We spake--he made reply, but would not stir
    At our entreaty; less from want of power                     825
    Than apprehension and bewildering thoughts.[CP]
      "So was he lifted gently from the ground,
    And with their freight homeward the shepherds[205] moved
    Through the dull mist, I following--when a step,
    A single step, that freed me from the skirts                 830
    Of the blind vapour, opened to my view
    Glory beyond all glory ever seen
    By waking sense or by the dreaming soul!
    The appearance,[206] instantaneously disclosed,
    Was of a mighty city--boldly say                             835
    A wilderness of building, sinking far
    And self-withdrawn into a boundless[207] depth,
    Far sinking into splendour--without end!
    Fabric it seemed of diamond and of gold,
    With alabaster domes, and silver spires,                     840
    And blazing terrace upon terrace, high
    Uplifted; here, serene pavilions bright,
    In avenues disposed; there, towers begirt
    With battlements that on their restless fronts
    Bore stars--illumination of all gems!                        845
    By earthly nature had the effect been wrought
    Upon the dark materials of the storm
    Now pacified; on them, and on the coves
    And mountain-steeps and summits, whereunto
    The vapours had receded, taking there                        850
    Their station under a cerulean sky.
    Oh, 'twas an unimaginable sight!
    Clouds, mists, streams, watery rocks and emerald turf,
    Clouds of all tincture, rocks and sapphire sky,
    Confused, commingled, mutually inflamed,                     855
    Molten together, and composing thus,
    Each lost in each, that marvellous array
    Of temple, palace, citadel, and huge
    Fantastic pomp of structure without name,
    In fleecy folds voluminous, enwrapped.                       860
    Right in the midst, where interspace appeared
    Of open court, an object like a throne
    Under[208] a shining canopy of state
    Stood fixed; and fixed resemblances were seen
    To implements of ordinary use,                               865
    But vast in size, in substance glorified;
    Such as by Hebrew Prophets were beheld
    In vision[CQ]--forms uncouth of mightiest power
    For admiration and mysterious awe.
    This little Vale, a dwelling-place of Man,[209]              870
    Lay low beneath my feet; 'twas visible--
    I saw not, but I felt that it was there.
    That which I _saw_ was the revealed abode
    Of Spirits in beatitude: my heart                            874
    Swelled in my breast.--'I have been dead,' I cried,
    'And now I live! Oh! wherefore _do_ I live?'
    And with that pang I prayed to be no more!--
    --But I forget our Charge, as utterly
    I then forgot him:--there I stood and gazed:
    The apparition faded not away,                               880
    And I descended.[CR]
                         "Having reached the house,
    I found its rescued inmate safely lodged,
    And in serene possession of himself,
    Beside a fire whose genial warmth seemed met
    By a faint shining from the heart, a gleam                   885
    Of comfort, spread over his pallid face.[210]
    Great show of joy the housewife made, and truly
    Was glad to find her conscience set at ease;
    And not less glad, for sake of her good name,
    That the poor Sufferer had escaped with life.                890
    But, though he seemed at first to have received
    No harm, and uncomplaining as before
    Went through his usual tasks, a silent change
    Soon showed itself: he lingered three short weeks;
    And from the cottage hath been borne to-day.                 895

      "So ends my dolorous tale, and glad I am
    That it is ended." At these words he turned--
    And, with blithe air of open fellowship,
    Brought from the cupboard wine and stouter cheer,
    Like one who would be merry. Seeing this,                    900
    My grey-haired Friend said courteously--"Nay, nay,
    You have regaled us as a hermit ought;
    Now let us forth into the sun!"--Our Host
    Rose, though reluctantly, and forth we went.


[Footnote 100:

    _--feelings of the Author at the sight of it--_
                                           Inserted from 1814 to 1832.

[Footnote 101:

    _--Brief conversation--_
                                           Inserted from 1814 to 1832.

[Footnote 102: 1836

    _Quit_                                                       1814.

[Footnote 103: 1827.

    Than this obscure Itinerant (an obscure,
    But a high-souled and tender-hearted Man)
    Had skill to draw from many a ramble, far
    And wide protracted, through the tamer ground                1814.

[Footnote 104:

    And pathways winding on from farm to farm,
                        This line appeared only in 1814 and 1820.

[Footnote 105: 1836.

    ... beneath ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 106: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 107: 1827.

    ... supply:                                                  1814.

[Footnote 108:

    Along the field, and in the shady grove;
                             This line appeared only in 1814 and 1820.

[Footnote 109: C. and 1845.

    --Greetings and smiles we met with all day long
    From faces that he knew; ...                                 1814.

[Footnote 110: 1845.

    ... come from far.                                           1814.

[Footnote 111: This line was added in 1845.]

[Footnote 112: 1827.

    Wherein his charity ...                                      1814.

[Footnote 113: 1827.

    ... itself ...                                               1814.

[Footnote 114: 1832.

    My Fellow Traveller said with earnest voice,
    As if the thought were but a moment old,
    That I must yield myself without reserve
    To his disposal. Glad was I of this:                         1814.

    My Fellow traveller claim'd with earnest voice,
    As if the thought were but a moment old,
    An absolute dominion for the day.                            1827.

[Footnote 115: 1836.

    ... and he led towards the hills,                            1814.

[Footnote 116: 1827.

      Mount slowly, Sun! and may our journey lie
    Awhile within the shadow of this hill,
    This friendly hill, a shelter from thy beams!                1814.

[Footnote 117: 1827.

    ... wish;
    And as that wish, with prevalence of thanks
    For present good o'er fear of future ill,
    Stole in among the morning's blither thoughts,               1814.

[Footnote 118: 1827.

    ... tow'rds ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 119: 1827.

    ... ear, did to the question yield                           1814.

[Footnote 120: 1836.

    ... and ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 121: C. and 1845.

    Here would I linger, and ...                                 1814.

[Footnote 122: 1827.

    ... will ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 123: 1845.

    We must proceed--a length of journey yet
    Remains untraced." ...                                       1814.
    A length of journey yet remains untrod,
    Let us proceed." ...                                            C.

[Footnote 124: 1832.

    Towards those craggy summits, ...                            1814.

[Footnote 125: 1827.

    Upon the humblest ground of social life,
    Doth at this day, I trust, the blossoms bear
    Of piety and simple innocence.                               1814.

[Footnote 126: 1827.

    And, as he shewed in study forward zeal,
    All helps were sought, all measures strained, that He,
    By due scholastic discipline prepared,
    Might to the Ministry be called: which done,
    Partly through lack of better hopes--and part
    Perhaps incited by a curious mind,
    In early life he undertook the charge                        1814.

[Footnote 127: 1827.

    ... and, ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 128: 1845.

    ... How full their joy,
    How free their love! nor did their love decay;
    Nor joy abate, till, pitiable doom!                          1814.

    ... nor did that love decay,                                 1827.

    How free their love, till all by death was blasted
    In one undreaded year, Death swept away
    Two lovely ...                                                  C.

[Footnote 129: 1845.

                                       ... compelled
    By pain to turn his thoughts towards the grave,
    And face the regions of Eternity.                            1814.

                                       ... compelled
    To commune with the grave soul-sick, and face
    With pain ...                                                   C.

[Footnote 130: 1827.

    The ...                                                      1814.

[Footnote 131: 1827.

                                       ... France!
    That sudden light had power to pierce the gloom
    In which his Spirit, friendless upon earth,
    In separation dwelt, and solitude.
    The voice of social transport ...                            1814.

[Footnote 132: 1827.

    That righteous Cause of freedom did, we know,
    Combine, for one hostility, as friends,                      1814.

[Footnote 133: 1827.

    ... its ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 134: 1827.

    ... those ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 135: 1827.

    Which, ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 136: 1836.

    ... he still ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 137: 1836.

    ... such ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 138: 1827.

    ... and ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 139: 1827.

    ... this gone, therewith he lost                             1814.

[Footnote 140: 1827.

                                    ... hate!
    --And thus beset, and finding in himself
    Nor pleasure nor tranquillity, at last,
    After a wandering course of discontent
    In foreign Lands, and inwardly oppressed                     1814.

[Footnote 141: 1845.

    In self-indulging spleen, that doth not want                 1814.

[Footnote 142: 1827.

    With which my Fellow-traveller had beguiled                  1814.

[Footnote 143: 1827.

    Now, suddenly diverging, he began
    To climb upon its western side a Ridge
    Pathless and smooth, a long and steep ascent;
    As if the object of his quest had been                       1814.

[Footnote 144: 1845.

    Of water--or some boastful Eminence,                         1814.

[Footnote 145: 1827.

    We clomb without a track to guide our steps;
    And, on the summit, reached a heathy plain,                  1814.

    A steep ascent, and reached at length a dreary plain, MS.

[Footnote 146:

                            ... region! and I walked
    In weariness: ...                                            1814.

[Footnote 147: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 148: 1836.

    ... soft it seems to lie,                                    1814.

[Footnote 149: 1827.

    On these and other kindred thoughts intent,
    In silence by my Comrade's side I lay,                       1814.

[Footnote 150: 1827.

    ... towards the Hut,                                         1814.

[Footnote 151: 1814.

    ... These words,
    Said my companion, sighing as he spoke,
    Were chosen by himself, God rest his soul.                      C.

[Footnote 152: 1845.

    The Wanderer cried, ...                                      1814.

[Footnote 153: 1814.

    He is it not perhaps ...                                        C.

[Footnote 154: 1836.

    ... upon ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 155: 1827.

    ... in the course I took,                                    1814.

[Footnote 156: 1827.

    ... aside!
    It was an Entry, narrow as a door;
    A passage whose brief windings opened out                    1814.

[Footnote 157: 1827.

    ... a single ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 158: 1827.

    Met in an angle, hung a tiny roof,
    Or penthouse, which most quaintly had been framed
    By thrusting two rude sticks into the wall                   1814.

[Footnote 159: 1827.

    Whose simple skill had thronged the grassy floor
    With work of frame less solid, a proud show                  1814.

[Footnote 160: 1827.

    Who, having entered, carelessly looked round,
    And now would have passed on; when I exclaimed,              1814.

[Footnote 161:


    ... "Gracious Heaven!"
    The Wanderer cried, "it cannot but be his,                   1814.

[Footnote 162:


    "It cannot," said the Wanderer, "but be his,
    And he is gone!" ...                                            C.

[Footnote 163:


    ... here no doubt
    He sometimes played with them; and here hath sate
    Far oftener by himself. This Book, I guess,
    Hath been forgotten in his careless way;
    Left here when he was occupied in mind;
    And by the Cottage Children has been found.                  1814.

[Footnote 164:


    ... things;
    Nor, with the knowledge which my mind possessed,
    Could I behold it undisturbed: 'tis strange,
    I grant, and stranger still had been to see
    The Man, who was its Owner, dwelling here,                   1814.

[Footnote 165:


    ... the                                                      1814.

[Footnote 166:


    I knew, from the appearance and the dress,                   1814.

[Footnote 167:


    A tall and meagre person, in a garb                          1814.

[Footnote 168:


    Which on a leaf he carried in his hand,
    Strings of ripe currants; ...                                1814.

[Footnote 169:


      Glad was my Comrade now, though he at first,
    I doubt not, had been more surprized than glad.
    But now, recovered from the shock and calm,
    He soberly advanced; and to the Man
    Gave chearful greeting.--Vivid was the light
    Which flashed at this from out the Other's eyes;             1814.

[Footnote 170:


    He was all fire: the sickness from his face
    Passed like a fancy that is swept away;                      1814.

[Footnote 171:


    ... more,
    And much of what had vanished was returned,                  1814.

[Footnote 172:


    ... little                                                   1814.

[Footnote 173:


    He knows not why;--but he, perchance, this day,
    Is shedding Orphan's tears; and you yourself                 1814.

[Footnote 174: 1836.

    ... Often have I stopped
    When on my way, I could not chuse but stop,
    So much I felt the awfulness of Life,                        1814.

    ....Often have I stopped,
    So much I felt the awfulness of life,                        1827.

The text of 1832 returns to that of 1814. ]

[Footnote 175: 1845.

        ... to its home,
    Its final home in earth....                                  1814.

        ... to its home,
    Its final home on earth....                                  1836.

[Footnote 176: 1836.

    ... towards the grave                                        1814.

[Footnote 177: 1827.

                        ... in this Solitude,
    (That seems by Nature framed to be the seat
    And very bosom of pure innocence)                            1814.

[Footnote 178: 1845.

    In what it values most--the love of God                      1814.

    In what she values most--the love of God                     1827.

    And more as years are multiplied
    With what she most delights in, love of God                     C.

[Footnote 179: 1836.

    ... Saying this he led
    Towards the Cottage;--homely was the spot;                   1814.

[Footnote 180: 1827.

    ... Valley's brink                                           1814.

[Footnote 181: 1827.

    ... that ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 182: 1845.

    Was silent; and the solitary clock
    Ticked, as I thought, with melancholy sound.--               1814.

[Footnote 183: 1845.

    We had around us! ...                                        1814.

    Had we around us! ...                                        1827.

[Footnote 184: 1827.

                     ... moss; and here and there
    Lay, intermixed with these, mechanic tools,
    And scraps of paper,--some I could perceive                  1814.

[Footnote 185:

    ... the ...                                                    MS.

[Footnote 186: 1845.

    ... load                                                     1814.

[Footnote 187: 1827.

    ... curds, ...                                               1814.

[Footnote 188: 1832.

    Butter that had imbibed a golden tinge,
    A hue like that of yellow meadow flowers
    Reflected faintly in a silent pool.                          1814.

    From meadow flowers, hue delicate as theirs
    Faintly reflected in a lingering stream;                     1827.

[Footnote 189:

    Became ...                                                     MS.

[Footnote 190: 1827.

    "Those lusty Twins on which your eyes are cast,"
    Exclaimed our Host, "if here you dwelt, would be             1814.

[Footnote 191: 1827.

    ... frame; ...                                               1814.

[Footnote 192: 1845.

                              With brightening face
    The Wanderer heard him speaking thus, and said,              1814.

                                    A fall of voice,
    Regretted like the Nightingale's last note,
    Had scarcely closed this high-wrought Rhapsody,              1827.

    Had scarcely closed this strain of thankful rapture,            C.

    Ere with inviting voice ...                                    MS.

[Footnote 193: 1827.

    ... unawares
    And was forgotten. Let this challenge stand
    For my excuse, if what I shall relate
    Tire your attention.--Outcast and cut off
    As we seem here, and must have seemed to you                 1814.

[Footnote 194: 1845.

    ... of ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 195: 1836.

    ... ordinance ...                                            1814.

[Footnote 196: 1827.

    ... was ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 197: 1836.

    ... beneath ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 198: 1827.

    useful ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 199: 1827.

    ... from mid-noon the rain                                   1814.

[Footnote 200: 1827.

    ... mountain                                                 1814.

[Footnote 201: 1827.

    Came not, and now perchance upon the Heights                 1814.

[Footnote 202: 1827.

    ... or ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 203: 1827.

    Till, chancing by yon ...                                    1814.

[Footnote 204: 1827.

    And wholly without roof (in ancient time
    It was a Chapel, a small Edifice
    In which the Peasants of these lonely Dells
    For worship met upon that central height)--
    Chancing to pass this wreck of stones, we there
    Espied at last the Object of our search,
    Couched in a nook, and seemingly alive.
    It would have moved you, had you seen the guise
    In which he occupied his chosen bed,                         1814.

[Footnote 205: 1836.

    ... the Shepherds homeward ...                               1814.

[Footnote 206: 1827.

    ... dreaming soul!
    --Though I am conscious that no power of words
    Can body forth, no hues of speech can paint
    That gorgeous spectacle--too bright and fair
    Even for remembrance; yet the attempt may give
    Collateral interest to this homely Tale.
    The Appearance, ...                                          1814.

[Footnote 207: 1845.

    ... wondrous ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 208: 1836.

    Beneath ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 209: 1845.

    Below me was the earth; this little Vale                     1814.

[Footnote 210: 1836.

    Beside a genial fire; that seemed to spread
    A gleam of comfort o'er his pallid face.                     1814.


[Footnote BJ: In the Fenwick note Wordsworth says, "In the poem, I
suppose that the Pedlar and I ascended from a plain country up the vale
of Langdale, and struck off a good way above the chapel to the western
side of the vale." They start from Grasmere, cross over to Langdale by
Red Bank and High Close, and walk up the lower part of the valley of
Great Langdale, past Elter Water and Chapel Stile.--ED.]

[Footnote BK: At Chapel Stile the villagers of Langdale are seen at their
annual Fair. Dorothy Wordsworth thus alludes to one of these rural Fairs
in her Grasmere Journal: "Tuesday, September 2nd, 1800.--We walked to the
Fair. There seemed very few people and very few stalls, yet I believe
there were many cakes and much beer sold.... It was a lovely moonlight
night.... The moonlight shone only upon the village. It did not eclipse
the village lights, and the sound of dancing and merriment came along the
still air. I walked with Coleridge and Wm. up the lane and by the church,
and then lingered with Coleridge in the garden...." See also the account
of the "village merry-night," in _The Waggoner_, canto ii. ll. 307-443
(vol. iii. p. 89.)--ED.]

[Footnote BL: Lingmoor.--ED.]

[Footnote BM: At Blea Tarn, where the Solitary lived.--ED.]

[Footnote BN: "Not long after we took up our abode at Grasmere, came to
reside there, from what motive I either never knew or have forgotten, a
Scotchman, a little past the middle of life, who had for many years been
chaplain to a Highland regiment. He was in no respect, as far as I know,
an interesting character, though in his appearance there was a good deal
that attracted attention, as if he had been shattered in fortune, and
not happy in mind. Of his quondam position I availed myself to connect
with the Wanderer, also a Scotchman, a character suitable to my purpose,
the elements of which I drew from several persons with whom I had been
connected, and who fell under my observation during frequent residences
in London at the beginning of the French Revolution."--I. F.]

[Footnote BO: Compare _The Prelude_, books ix., x., and xi.,

[Footnote BP: I have not been able to trace this quotation.

    Moving about in worlds not realised

occurs in the _Ode, Intimations of Immortality_.--ED.]

[Footnote BQ: Langdale.--ED.]

[Footnote BR: The flank of Lingmoor.--ED.]

[Footnote BS: The flat heathery summit of Lingmoor. Note the text of

[Footnote BT: Bowfell, Great End, Shelter Crags, and Pike o' Blisco
to the west straight before them, the Langdale Pikes to the north on
the right, with Wrynose, Wetherlam, and the Coniston Mountains to the

[Footnote BU: The head of Little Langdale, with Blea Tarn in the centre,
as seen from the top of Lingmoor, the only point, except the summit of
Blake Rigg, from which it appears "urn-like."

With the six previous lines compare Beattie's _Minstrel_, book ii. stanza

    It was his chance to wander far abroad,
    And o'er a lonely eminence to climb,
    Which, heretofore, his foot had never trode;
    A vale appeared below, a deep retired abode.                   ED.

[Footnote BV: The "small opening, where a heath-clad ridge supplied a
boundary," is that which leads down into Little Langdale by Fell Foot and

[Footnote BW: The "nook" is not now "treeless," but the fir-wood on the
western side of the Vale adds to its "quiet," and deepens the sense of

[Footnote BX: Blea Tarn. "The scene in which this small piece of water
lies, suggested to the Author the following description (given in his
poem of _The Excursion_), supposing the spectator to look down upon it,
not from the road, but from one of its elevated sides." (See Wordsworth's
_Description of the Scenery of the District of the Lakes_ in his _Prose

[Footnote BY: The solitary cottage, called Blea Tarn house, which is
passed on the left of the road under Side Pike.--ED.]

[Footnote BZ: The following is from Dorothy Wordsworth's Grasmere
Journal: Wednesday, 3rd September 1800.--"I went to a funeral at John
Dawson's. About 10 men and 4 women.... The dead person 56 years of age,
buried by the parish.... They set the corpse down at the door; and, while
we stood within the threshold, the men, with their hats off, sang, with
decent and solemn countenances, a verse of a funeral psalm. The corpse
was then borne down the hill, and they sang till they had passed the
Town-end. I was affected to tears while we stood in the house.... There
were no near kindred, no children. When we got out of the dark house
the sun was shining, and the prospect looked as divinely beautiful as I
ever saw it. It seemed more sacred than I had ever seen it, and yet more
allied to human life.... When we came to the bridge, they began to sing
again, and stopped during four lines before they entered the churchyard."
Compare this with such phrases in _The Excursion_ as--

    They shaped their course along the sloping side
    Of that small valley, singing as they moved;
    A sober company and few, the men
    Bare-headed,                                            --(p. 84.)

    We heard the hymn they sang--a solemn sound
    Heard any where; but in a place like this
    'Tis more than human!                              --(p. 90.)--ED.

[Footnote CA: See the note on the preceding page.--ED.]

[Footnote CB: Descending from the top of Lingmoor to Blea Tarn.--ED.]

[Footnote CC: The upper part of Little Langdale, descending to Fell

[Footnote CD: A spot exactly similar to this can easily be found, about
two hundred yards above the house, in the narrow gorge of Blea Tarn
Ghyll, below a waterfall, where a "moss-grown wall" still approaches
the rock on the other side of the stream, and where a "penthouse" might
easily be made by children.--ED.]

[Footnote CE: It may not be too trivial to note that, to this day, in the
Cumberland and Westmoreland vales, one of the favourite games of children
on the fell-sides near their cottages, is playing at mimic gardens and
parterres, made out of fragments of broken pottery.--ED.]

[Footnote CF: Compare Lamb's remark in a letter to Wordsworth, 14th
August 1814. See _Letters of Charles Lamb_, edited by Canon Ainger, vol.
i. p. 271.--ED.]

[Footnote CG: The flat ground on the more level part of the valley near
Blea Tarn cottage.--ED.]

[Footnote CH: Compare _Resolution and Independence_, stanza xiii. (see
vol. ii. p. 319).--ED.]

[Footnote CI: Compare the note p. 83; also the Fenwick note, in which
Wordsworth laments the change in the "manner in which, till lately, every
one was borne to the place of sepulture."--ED.]

[Footnote CJ: The custom of mourners kneeling round the coffin was, till
quite lately, in common use. It is still observed in some churches in
Cumberland and Westmoreland, but is gradually passing away.--ED.]

[Footnote CK: Blea Tarn house is a humble cottage, resembling Anne
Tyson's house at Hawkshead where Wordsworth lived when at school. On
the ground-floor are a parlour, kitchen, and dairy. You ascend by nine
stone steps to the upper flat, where there are four small rooms, and the
window of one of them faces the north in the direction of the Langdale
Pikes. The foundations of an older house may be seen a little lower down,
about twenty yards nearer the tarn; but the present house was probably
standing at the beginning of this century. As there are two poplars to
the north of the cottage, and a sycamore near them, it is not likely
that the place was _entirely_ "treeless" in Wordsworth's time. In the
Fenwick memoranda he says "the cottage was called Hackett, and stands,
as described, on the southern extremity of the ridge which separates the
two Langdales." In this he evidently confounds Hackett cottage, near
Colwith--which separates the two Langdales as you ascend them from the
lower country--with the Blea Tarn cottage, which stands on "the southern
extremity of the ridge which separates the Langdale" valleys as you
descend them.--ED.]

[Footnote CL: It is generally supposed that the

                               two huge Peaks,
    That from some other vale peered into this,

are the Langdale Pikes; and it is the most likely supposition. But, if
the three were seated, as described, in the upper room of the cottage
(which has one small window looking toward the Pikes), they could not
possibly see them. Side Pike and Pike o' Blisco alone could be seen.
Either then, these are the Peaks referred to; or, what is much more
likely, the realism of the narrative here gives way; and the far finer
pikes of Langdale are introduced--although they are not visible from
the house--because they belong to the district, and can be seen from so
many points around. The phrases "from some other vale" and "lusty twins"
point unmistakably to those two characteristic pikes which "peer" over
the crest of the ridge dividing the Langdale valleys. "Let a man," says
Dr. Cradock, "as he approaches Blea Tarn from Little Langdale, see these
slowly rising, and peering alone over the depression (or Haws) which
divides the Langdales, and he cannot doubt that they are the 'lusty
twins.' Let the Haws be in shadow, and the Pikes in sunlight, or the
reverse, and the effect is one of the most striking in all the district."
Compare the sonnet, _November 1, 1815_, beginning--

    How clear, how keen, how marvellously bright.                  ED.

[Footnote CM: This is strictly accurate. On and about the 21st June, the
sun, as seen from Blea Tarn, sets just between the Langdale Pikes.--ED.]

[Footnote CN: "Mark how the wind rejoices in these peaks, and they give
back its wild pleasure; how all the things which touch and haunt them get
their reply; how they are loved and love; how busy are the mute agents
there; how proud the stars to shine on them." (Stopford A. Brooke's
_Theology in the English Poets_, p. 108.)--ED.]

[Footnote CO: "The account given by the Solitary, towards the close of
the second book, in all that belongs to the character of the old man, was
taken from a Grasmere pauper, who was boarded in the last house quitting
the vale on the road to Ambleside."--I.F.]

[Footnote CP: "The character of his hostess, and all that befell the poor
man upon the mountain, belongs to Paterdale. The woman I knew well; her
name was Ruth Jackson, and she was exactly such a person as I describe.
The ruins of the old chapel, among which the old man was found lying,
may yet be traced, and stood upon the ridge that divides Paterdale from
Boardale and Martindale, having been placed there for the convenience of
both districts."--I.F.

The following is Dorothy Wordsworth's account of the same occurrence,
given in a record of what she called "a Mountainous Ramble," written
in 1805. Her brother afterwards incorporated this passage, with a few
alterations, in his _Description of the Scenery of the Lakes_.

"Looked into Boar Dale above Sanwick--deep and bare, a stream winding
down it. After having walked a considerable way on the tops of the hills,
came in view of Glenridding and the mountains above Grisdale. Luff then
took us aside, before we had begun to descend, to a small ruin, which was
formerly a chapel or place of worship where the inhabitants of Martindale
and Paterdale were accustomed to meet on Sundays. There are now no traces
by which you could discover that the building had been different from a
common sheepfold; the loose stones and the few which yet remain piled
up are the same as those which lie about on the mountain; but the shape
of the building being oblong is not that of a common sheepfold, and it
stands east and west. Whether it was ever consecrated ground or not I
know not; but the place may be kept holy in the memory of some now living
in Paterdale; for it was the means of preserving the life of a poor old
man last summer, who, having gone up the mountain to gather peats, had
been overtaken by a storm, and could not find his way down again. He
happened to be near the remains of the old chapel, and, in a corner of
it, he contrived, by laying turf and ling and stones from one wall to
the other, to make a shelter from the wind, and there he lay all night.
The woman who had sent him on his errand began to grow uneasy towards
night, and the neighbours went out to seek him. At that time the old man
had housed himself in his nest, and he heard the voices of the men, but
could not make _them_ hear, the wind being so loud, and he was afraid
to leave the spot lest he should not be able to find it again, so he
remained there all night; and they returned to their homes, giving him up
for lost; but the next morning the same persons discovered him huddled up
in the sheltered nook. He was at first stupefied and unable to move; but
after he had eaten and drunk, and recollected himself a little, he walked
down the mountain, and did not afterwards seem to have suffered."--ED.]

[Footnote CQ: Compare Ezekiel, chap. i.--ED.]

[Footnote CR: "The glorious appearance disclosed above and among the
mountains, was described partly from what my friend Mr. Luff, who
then lived in Paterdale, witnessed upon that melancholy occasion, and
partly from what Mary and I had seen, in company with Sir George and
Lady Beaumont, above Hartshope Hall, on our way from Paterdale to
Ambleside."--I. F.

Compare the lines 827-881 with the account of the view from the top of
Snowdon, in _The Prelude_, book xiv. II. 11-62 (vol. iii. pp. 367-68),
and see Charles Lamb's remarks in his letter to Wordsworth (Aug. 14,
1814) on receiving a copy of _The Excursion_. (_Letters of Charles Lamb_,
edited by Alfred Ainger, vol. i. p. 271.) In his _Table Talk_ Coleridge
expresses a wish "that the first two books of _The Excursion_ had been
published separately under the name of 'The Deserted Cottages.' They
would have formed, what indeed they are, one of the most beautiful poems
in the language." This advice has been followed more than once--ED.]

=Book Third=



    _Images in the Valley--Another Recess in it entered and
    described--Wanderer's sensations--Solitary's excited by
    the same objects--Contrast between these--Despondency of
    the Solitary gently reproved--Conversation exhibiting
    the Solitary's past and present opinions and feelings,
    till he enters upon his own History at length--His
    domestic felicity--Afflictions--Dejection--Roused by the
    French Revolution--Disappointment and disgust--Voyage to
    America--Disappointment and disgust pursue him--His return--His
    languor and depression of mind, from want of faith in the great
    truths of Religion, and want of confidence in the virtue of

    A HUMMING BEE--a little tinkling rill--
    A pair of falcons wheeling on the wing,
    In clamorous agitation, round the crest
    Of a tall rock, their airy citadel--
    By each and all of these the pensive ear                       5
    Was greeted, in the silence that ensued,
    When through the cottage threshold we had passed,
    And, deep within that lonesome valley, stood
    Once more beneath the concave of a[211] blue
    And cloudless sky.--Anon exclaimed our Host,                  10
    Triumphantly dispersing with the taunt
    The shade of discontent which on his brow
    Had gathered,--"Ye have left my cell,--but see
    How Nature hems you in with friendly arms!
    And by her help ye are my prisoners still.                    15
    But which way shall I lead you?--how contrive,
    In spot so parsimoniously endowed,
    That the brief hours, which yet remain, may reap
    Some recompense of knowledge or delight?"
    So saying, round he looked, as if perplexed;                  20
    And, to remove those doubts, my grey-haired Friend
    Said--"Shall we take this pathway for our guide?--
    Upward it winds, as if, in summer heats,
    Its line had first been fashioned by the flock
    Seeking a place of refuge[212] at the root                    25
    Of yon black Yew-tree, whose protruded boughs
    Darken the silver bosom of the crag,[CS]
    From which she draws her[213] meagre sustenance.
    There in commodious shelter may we rest.
    Or let us trace this streamlet to its[214] source;            30
    Feebly it tinkles with an earthy sound,
    And a few steps may bring us to the spot
    Where, haply, crowned with flowerets and green herbs,
    The mountain infant to the sun comes forth,
    Like human life from darkness."--A quick turn[215]            35
    Through a strait passage of encumbered ground,
    Proved that such hope was vain:--for now we stood
    Shut out from prospect of the open vale,
    And saw the water, that composed this rill,
    Descending, disembodied, and diffused                         40
    O'er the smooth surface of an ample crag,
    Lofty, and steep, and naked as a tower.
    All further progress here was barred;--And who,
    Thought I, if master of a vacant hour,
    Here would not linger, willingly detained?                    45
    Whether to such wild objects he were led
    When copious rains have magnified the stream
    Into a loud and white-robed waterfall,
    Or introduced at this more quiet time.

      Upon a semicirque of turf-clad ground,                      50
    The hidden nook discovered to our view
    A mass of rock, resembling, as it lay
    Right at the foot of that moist precipice,
    A stranded ship, with keel upturned, that rests
    Fearless of winds and waves. Three several stones             55
    Stood near, of smaller size, and not unlike
    To monumental pillars: and, from these
    Some little space disjoined, a pair were seen,
    That with united shoulders bore aloft
    A fragment, like an altar, flat and smooth:                   60
    Barren the tablet, yet thereon appeared[216]
    A tall and shining holly, that[217] had found
    A hospitable chink, and stood upright,
    As if inserted by some human hand
    In mockery, to wither in the sun,                             65
    Or lay its beauty flat before a breeze,
    The first that entered. But no breeze did now
    Find entrance;--high or low appeared no trace
    Of motion, save the water that descended,
    Diffused adown that barrier of steep rock,                    70
    And softly creeping, like a breath of air,
    Such as is sometimes seen, and hardly seen,
    To brush the still breast of a crystal lake.[CT]

      "Behold a cabinet for sages built,
    Which kings might envy!"--Praise to this effect               75
    Broke from the happy old Man's reverend lip;
    Who to the Solitary turned, and said,
    "In sooth, with love's familiar privilege,
    You have decried the wealth which is your own.[218]
    Among these rocks and stones, methinks, I see                 80
    More than the heedless impress that belongs
    To lonely nature's casual work: they bear
    A semblance strange of power intelligent,
    And of design not wholly worn away.
    Boldest of plants that ever faced the wind,                   85
    How gracefully that slender shrub looks forth
    From its fantastic birth-place! And I own,
    Some shadowy intimations haunt me here,
    That in these shows[219] a chronicle survives
    Of purposes akin to those of Man,[CU]                         90
    But wrought with mightier arm than now prevails.
    --Voiceless the stream descends into the gulf
    With timid lapse;--and lo! while in this strait
    I stand--the chasm of sky above my head
    Is heaven's profoundest azure; no domain                      95
    For fickle, short-lived clouds to occupy,
    Or to pass through; but rather an abyss
    In which the everlasting stars abide;
    And whose soft gloom, and boundless depth, might tempt
    The curious eye to look for them by day.[CV]                 100
    --Hail Contemplation! from the stately towers,
    Reared by the industrious hand of human art
    To lift thee high above the misty air
    And turbulence of murmuring cities vast;
    From academic groves, that have for thee                     105
    Been planted, hither come and find a lodge
    To which thou mayst resort for holier peace,--
    From whose calm centre thou, through height or depth,
    Mayst penetrate, wherever truth shall lead;
    Measuring through all degrees, until the scale               110
    Of time and conscious nature disappear,
    Lost in unsearchable eternity!"[CW]

      A pause ensued; and with minuter care
    We scanned the various features of the scene:
    And soon the Tenant of that lonely vale                      115
    With courteous voice thus spake--
                                     "I should have grieved
    Hereafter, not escaping self-reproach,[220]
    If from my poor retirement ye had gone
    Leaving this nook unvisited: but, in sooth,
    Your unexpected presence had so roused                       120
    My spirits, that they were bent on enterprise;
    And, like an ardent hunter, I forgot,
    Or, shall I say?--disdained, the game that lurks[221]
    At my own door. The shapes before our eyes,
    And their arrangement, doubtless must be deemed              125
    The sport of Nature, aided by blind Chance
    Rudely to mock the works of toiling Man.
    And hence, this upright shaft of unhewn stone,
    From Fancy, willing to set off her stores
    By sounding titles, hath acquired the name                   130
    Of Pompey's pillar; that I gravely style
    My Theban obelisk; and, there, behold
    A Druid cromlech!--thus I entertain
    The antiquarian humour, and am pleased
    To skim along the surfaces of things,                        135
    Beguiling harmlessly the listless hours.
    But if the spirit be oppressed by sense
    Of instability, revolt, decay,
    And change, and emptiness, these freaks of Nature
    And her blind helper Chance, do _then_ suffice               140
    To quicken, and to aggravate--to feed
    Pity and scorn, and melancholy pride,
    Not less than that huge Pile (from some abyss
    Of mortal power unquestionably sprung)[CX]
    Whose hoary diadem of pendent rocks                          145
    Confines the shrill-voiced whirlwind, round and round
    Eddying within its vast circumference,
    On Sarum's naked plain--than pyramid
    Of Egypt, unsubverted, undissolved--
    Or Syria's marble ruins towering high[CY]                    150
    Above the sandy desert, in the light
    Of sun or moon.--Forgive me, if I say
    That an appearance which hath raised your minds
    To an exalted pitch (the self-same cause
    Different effect producing) is for me                        155
    Fraught rather with depression than delight,
    Though shame it were, could I not look around,[222]
    By the reflection of your pleasure, pleased.
    Yet happier, in my judgment, even than you
    With your bright transports, fairly may be deemed            160
    The wandering Herbalist,[223]--who, clear alike
    From vain, and, that worse evil, vexing thoughts,
    Casts, if he ever chance to enter here,
    Upon these uncouth Forms[224] a slight regard
    Of transitory interest, and peeps round                      165
    For some rare floweret of the hills, or plant
    Of craggy fountain; what he hopes for wins,
    Or learns, at least, that 'tis not to be won:
    Then, keen and eager, as a fine-nosed hound
    By soul-engrossing instinct driven along                     170
    Through wood or open field, the harmless Man
    Departs, intent upon his onward quest!--
    Nor is that Fellow-wanderer, so deem I,
    Less to be envied, (you may trace him oft
    By scars which his activity has left                         175
    Beside our roads and pathways, though, thank Heaven!
    This covert nook reports not of his hand)
    He who with pocket-hammer smites the edge
    Of luckless rock or prominent stone, disguised
    In weather-stains or crusted o'er by Nature                  180
    With her first growths,[225] detaching by the stroke
    A chip or splinter--to resolve his doubts;
    And, with that ready answer satisfied,
    The substance classes by some barbarous name,
    And[226] hurries on; or from the fragments picks             185
    His specimen, if but haply interveined[227]
    With sparkling mineral, or should crystal cube
    Lurk in its cells--and thinks himself enriched,
    Wealthier, and doubtless wiser, than before!
    Intrusted safely each to his pursuit,                        190
    Earnest alike, let both from hill to hill
    Range;[228] if it please them, speed from clime to clime;
    The mind is full--and free from pain their pastime."[229]

      "Then," said I, interposing, "One is near,
    Who cannot but possess in your esteem                        195
    Place worthier still of envy. May I name,
    Without offence, that fair-faced cottage-boy?
    Dame Nature's pupil of the lowest form,
    Youngest apprentice in the school of art!
    Him, as we entered from the open glen,                       200
    You might have noticed, busily engaged,
    Heart, soul, and hands,--in mending the defects
    Left in the fabric of a leaky dam
    Raised[230] for enabling this penurious stream
    To turn a slender mill (that new-made plaything)             205
    For his delight--the happiest he of all!"

      "Far happiest," answered the desponding Man,
    "If, such as now he is, he might remain!
    Ah! what avails imagination high
    Or question deep? what profits all that earth,               210
    Or heaven's blue vault, is suffered to put forth
    Of impulse or allurement, for the Soul
    To quit the beaten track of life, and soar
    Far as she finds a yielding element
    In past or future; far as she can go                         215
    Through time or space--if neither in the one,
    Nor in the other region, nor in aught
    That Fancy, dreaming o'er the map of things,
    Hath placed beyond these penetrable bounds,
    Words of assurance can be heard; if nowhere                  220
    A habitation, for consummate good,
    Or for[231] progressive virtue, by the search
    Can be attained,--a better sanctuary
    From doubt and sorrow, than the senseless grave?"

      "Is this," the grey-haired Wanderer mildly said,
    "The voice, which we so lately overheard,                    226
    To that same child, addressing tenderly
    The consolations of a hopeful mind?
    '_His body is at rest, his soul in heaven._'
    These were your words; and, verily, methinks                 230
    Wisdom is oft-times nearer when we stoop
    Than when we soar."--
                         The Other, not displeased,
    Promptly replied--"My notion is the same.
    And I, without reluctance, could decline
    All act of inquisition whence we rise,                       235
    And what, when breath hath ceased, we may become.
    Here are we, in a bright and breathing world.
    Our origin, what matters it? In lack
    Of worthier explanation, say at once
    With the American (a thought which suits                     240
    The place where now we stand) that certain men
    Leapt out together from a rocky cave;[CZ]
    And these were the first parents of mankind:
    Or, if a different image be recalled
    By the warm sunshine, and the jocund voice                   245
    Of insects chirping out their careless lives
    On these soft beds of thyme-besprinkled turf,
    Choose, with the gay Athenian, a conceit
    As sound--blithe race! whose mantles were bedecked
    With golden grasshoppers,[DA] in sign that they              250
    Had sprung, like those bright creatures, from the soil
    Whereon their endless generations dwelt.[232]
    But stop!--these theoretic fancies jar
    On serious minds: then, as the Hindoos draw[233]
    Their holy Ganges from a skiey fount,[DB]                    255
    Even so deduce the stream of human life
    From seats of power divine; and hope, or trust,
    That our existence winds her[234] stately course
    Beneath the sun, like Ganges, to make part
    Of a living ocean; or, to sink engulfed,[235]                260
    Like Niger, in impenetrable sands
    And utter darkness:[DC] thought which may be faced,
    Though comfortless!--
                         "Not of myself I speak;
    Such acquiescence neither doth imply,
    In me, a meekly-bending spirit soothed                       265
    By natural piety; nor a lofty mind,
    By philosophic discipline prepared
    For calm subjection to acknowledged law;
    Pleased to have been, contented not to be.
    Such palms I boast not;--no! to me, who find,                270
    Reviewing my past way, much to condemn,
    Little to praise, and nothing to regret,
    (Save some remembrances of dream-like joys
    That scarcely seem to have belonged to me)
    If I must take my choice between the pair                    275
    That rule alternately the weary hours,
    Night is than day more acceptable; sleep
    Doth, in my estimate of good, appear
    A better state than waking; death than sleep:
    Feelingly sweet is stillness after storm,                    280
    Though under covert of the wormy ground!

      "Yet be it said, in justice to myself,
    That in more genial times, when I was free
    To explore the destiny of human kind
    (Not as an intellectual game pursued                         285
    With curious subtilty, from wish[236] to cheat
    Irksome sensations; but by love of truth
    Urged on, or haply by intense delight
    In feeding thought, wherever thought could feed)
    I did not rank with those (too dull or nice,                 290
    For to my judgment such they then appeared,
    Or too aspiring, thankless at the best)
    Who, in this frame of human life, perceive
    An object whereunto their souls are tied
    In discontented wedlock; nor did e'er,                       295
    From me, those dark impervious shades, that hang
    Upon the region whither we are bound,
    Exclude a power to enjoy the vital beams
    Of present sunshine.--Deities that float
    On wings, angelic Spirits! I could muse                      300
    O'er what from eldest time we have been told
    Of your bright forms and glorious faculties,
    And with the imagination rest[237] content,
    Not wishing more; repining not to tread
    The little sinuous path of earthly care,                     305
    By flowers embellished, and by springs refreshed.[238]
    --'Blow winds of autumn!--let your chilling breath
    Take the live herbage from the mead, and strip
    The shady forest of its green attire,--
    And let the bursting clouds to fury rouse                    310
    The gentle brooks!--Your desolating sway,
    Sheds,' I exclaimed, 'no sadness upon me,[239]
    And no disorder in your rage I find.
    What dignity, what beauty, in this change
    From mild to angry, and from sad to gay,                     315
    Alternate and revolving! How benign,
    How rich in animation and delight,
    How bountiful these elements--compared
    With aught, as more desirable and fair,
    Devised by fancy for the golden age;                         320
    Or the perpetual warbling that prevails
    In Arcady,[DE] beneath unaltered skies,
    Through the long year in constant quiet bound,
    Night hushed as night, and day serene as day!'
    --But why this tedious record?--Age, we know,                325
    Is garrulous; and solitude is apt
    To anticipate the privilege of Age.
    From far ye come; and surely with a hope
    Of better entertainment:--let us hence!"

      Loth to forsake the spot, and still more loth              330
    To be diverted from our present theme,
    I said, "My thoughts, agreeing, Sir, with yours,
    Would push this censure farther;--for, if smiles
    Of scornful pity be the just reward
    Of Poesy thus courteously employed                           335
    In framing models to improve the scheme
    Of Man's existence, and recast the world,
    Why should not grave Philosophy be styled,
    Herself, a dreamer of a kindred stock,
    A dreamer yet more spiritless and dull?                      340
    Yes, shall the fine immunities she boasts[240]
    Establish sounder titles of esteem
    For her, who (all too timid and reserved
    For onset, for resistance too inert,
    Too weak for suffering, and for hope too tame)               345
    Placed, among[241] flowery gardens curtained round
    With world-excluding groves, the brotherhood
    Of soft Epicureans,[DF] taught--if they
    The ends of being would secure, and win
    The crown of wisdom--to yield up their souls                 350
    To a voluptuous unconcern, preferring
    Tranquillity to all things. Or is she,"
    I cried, "more worthy of regard, the Power,
    Who, for the sake of sterner quiet, closed
    The Stoic's[DG] heart against the vain approach              355
    Of admiration, and all sense of joy?"

      His countenance gave notice that my zeal
    Accorded little with his present mind;
    I ceased, and he resumed.--"Ah! gentle Sir,
    Slight, if you will, the _means_; but spare to slight        360
    The _end_ of those, who did, by system, rank,
    As the prime object of a wise man's aim,
    Security from shock of accident,
    Release from fear; and cherished peaceful days
    For their own sakes, as mortal life's chief good,            365
    And only reasonable felicity.
    What motive drew, what impulse, I would ask,
    Through a long course of later ages, drove
    The hermit to his cell in forest wide;
    Or what detained him, till his closing eyes                  370
    Took their last farewell of the sun and stars,
    Fast anchored in the desert?--Not alone
    Dread of the persecuting sword, remorse,
    Wrongs unredressed, or insults unavenged
    And unavengeable, defeated pride,                            375
    Prosperity subverted, maddening want,
    Friendship betrayed, affection unreturned,
    Love with despair, or grief in agony;--
    Not always from intolerable pangs                            379
    He fled; but, compassed round by pleasure, sighed
    For independent happiness; craving peace,
    The central feeling of all happiness,
    Not as a refuge from distress or pain,
    A breathing-time, vacation, or a truce,
    But for its absolute self; a life of peace,                  385
    Stability without regret or fear;
    That hath been, is, and shall be evermore!--
    Such the reward he sought; and wore out life,
    There, where on few external things his heart
    Was set, and those his own; or, if not his,                  390
    Subsisting under nature's stedfast law.

      "What other yearning was the master tie
    Of the monastic brotherhood, upon rock
    Aërial, or in green secluded vale,
    One after one, collected from afar,                          395
    An undissolving fellowship?--What but this,
    The universal instinct of repose,
    The longing for confirmed tranquillity,
    Inward and outward; humble, yet sublime:
    The life where hope and memory are as one;                   400
    Where earth is quiet and her face unchanged
    Save by the simplest toil of human hands
    Or seasons' difference; the immortal Soul[242]
    Consistent in self-rule; and heaven revealed
    To meditation in that quietness!--                           405
    Such was their scheme: and though the wished for end
    By multitudes was missed, perhaps attained
    By none, they for the attempt, and pains employed,[243]
    Do, in my present censure, stand redeemed
    From the unqualified disdain, that once                      410
    Would have been cast upon them by my voice
    Delivering her[244] decisions from the seat
    Of forward youth--that scruples not to solve
    Doubts, and determine questions, by the rules
    Of inexperienced judgment, ever prone                        415
    To overweening faith; and is inflamed,
    By courage, to demand from real life
    The test of act and suffering, to provoke
    Hostility--how dreadful when it comes,
    Whether affliction be the foe, or guilt!                     420

      "A child of earth, I rested, in that stage
    Of my past course to which these thoughts advert,
    Upon earth's native energies; forgetting
    That mine was a condition which required
    Nor energy, nor fortitude--a calm                            425
    Without vicissitude; which, if the like
    Had been presented to my view elsewhere,
    I might have even been tempted to despise.
    But no--for the serene[245] was also bright;
    Enlivened happiness with joy o'erflowing,                    430
    With joy, and--oh! that memory should survive
    To speak the word--with rapture! Nature's boon,
    Life's genuine inspiration, happiness
    Above what rules can teach, or fancy feign;
    Abused, as all possessions _are_[246] abused                 435
    That are not prized according to their worth.
    And yet, what worth? what good is given to men,
    More solid than the gilded clouds of heaven?
    What joy more lasting than a vernal flower?
    None! 'tis the general plaint of human kind                  440
    In solitude: and mutually addressed
    From each to all, for wisdom's sake:--This truth
    The priest announces from his holy seat:
    And, crowned with garlands in the summer grove,
    The poet fits it to his pensive lyre.                        445
    Yet, ere that final resting-place be gained,
    Sharp contradictions may arise, by doom
    Of this same life, compelling us to grieve[247]
    That the prosperities of love and joy
    Should be permitted, oft-times, to endure                    450
    So long, and be at once cast down for ever.
    Oh! tremble, ye, to whom hath been assigned
    A course of days composing happy months,
    And they as happy years; the present still
    So like the past, and both so firm a pledge                  455
    Of a congenial future, that the wheels
    Of pleasure move without the aid of hope:
    For Mutability is Nature's bane;
    And slighted Hope _will_[248] be avenged; and, when
    Ye need her favours, ye shall find her not;                  460
    But in her stead--fear--doubt--and agony!"

      This was the bitter language of the heart:
    But, while he spake, look, gesture, tone of voice,
    Though discomposed and vehement, were such
    As skill and graceful nature might suggest                   465
    To a proficient of the tragic scene
    Standing before the multitude, beset
    With dark events. Desirous to divert[249]
    Or stem the current of the speaker's thoughts,
    We signified a wish to leave that place                      470
    Of stillness and close privacy, a nook
    That seemed for self-examination made;[250]
    Or, for confession, in the sinner's need,
    Hidden from all men's view.[DH] To our attempt
    He yielded not; but, pointing to a slope                     475
    Of mossy turf defended from the sun,
    And on that couch inviting us to rest,
    Full on[251] that tender-hearted Man he turned
    A serious eye, and his speech thus[252] renewed.

      "You never saw, your eyes did never look                   480
    On the bright form of Her whom once I loved:--
    Her silver voice was heard upon the earth,
    A sound unknown to you; else, honoured Friend!
    Your heart had borne a pitiable share
    Of what I suffered, when I wept that loss,                   485
    And suffer now, not seldom, from the thought
    That I remember, and can weep no more.--
    Stripped as I am of all the golden fruit
    Of self-esteem; and by the cutting blasts
    Of self-reproach familiarly assailed;                        490
    Yet would I not be[253] of such wintry bareness
    But that some leaf of your regard should hang
    Upon my naked branches:--lively thoughts
    Give birth, full often, to unguarded words;
    I grieve that, in your presence, from my tongue              495
    Too much of frailty hath already dropped;
    But that too much demands still more.
                                           "You know,
    Revered Compatriot--and to you, kind Sir,
    (Not to be deemed a stranger, as you come
    Following the guidance of these welcome feet                 500
    To our secluded vale) it may be told--
    That my demerits did not sue in vain
    To One on whose mild radiance many gazed
    With hope, and all with pleasure. This fair Bride--
    In the devotedness of youthful love,                         505
    Preferring me to parents, and the choir
    Of gay companions, to the natal roof,
    And all known places and familiar sights
    (Resigned with sadness gently weighing down
    Her trembling expectations, but no more                      510
    Than did to her due honour, and to me
    Yielded, that day, a confidence sublime
    In what I had to build upon)--this Bride,
    Young, modest, meek, and beautiful, I led
    To a low cottage in a sunny bay,                             515
    Where the salt sea innocuously breaks,
    And the sea breeze as innocently breathes,
    On Devon's leafy shores;[DI]--a sheltered hold,
    In a soft clime encouraging the soil
    To a luxuriant bounty!--As our steps                         520
    Approach the embowered abode--our chosen seat--
    See, rooted in the earth, her[254] kindly bed,
    The unendangered myrtle, decked with flowers,
    Before the threshold stands to welcome us!
    While, in the flowering myrtle's neighbourhood,              525
    Not overlooked but courting no regard,
    Those native plants, the holly and the yew,
    Gave modest intimation to the mind
    How willingly their aid[255] they would unite
    With the green myrtle, to endear the hours                   530
    Of winter, and protect that pleasant place.
    --Wild were the walks upon those lonely Downs,[DJ]
    Track leading into track; how marked, how worn
    Into bright verdure, between fern and gorse,
    Winding away its never ending line                           535
    On their smooth surface, evidence was none:
    But, there, lay open to our daily haunt
    A range of unappropriated earth,
    Where youth's ambitious feet might move at large;
    Whence, unmolested wanderers, we beheld                      540
    The shining giver of the day diffuse
    His brightness o'er a tract of sea and land
    Gay as our spirits, free as our desires;
    As our enjoyments, boundless.--From those heights
    We dropped, at pleasure, into sylvan combs;[DJ]              545
    Where arbours of impenetrable shade,
    And mossy seats, detained us side by side,
    With hearts at ease, and knowledge in our hearts
    'That all the grove and all the day was ours.'

      "O happy time! still happier was at hand;                  550
    For Nature called my Partner to resign
    Her share in the pure freedom of that life,[256]
    Enjoyed by us in common.--To my hope,
    To my heart's wish, my tender Mate became
    The thankful captive of maternal bonds;                      555
    And those wild paths were left to me alone.
    There could I meditate on follies past;
    And, like a weary voyager escaped
    From risk and hardship, inwardly retrace
    A course of vain delights and thoughtless guilt,             560
    And self-indulgence--without shame pursued.
    There, undisturbed, could think of and could thank
    Her whose submissive spirit was to me
    Rule and restraint--my guardian--shall I say
    That earthly Providence, whose guiding love                  565
    Within a port of rest had lodged me safe;
    Safe from temptation, and from danger far?
    Strains followed of acknowledgment addressed
    To an Authority enthroned above                              569
    The reach of sight; from whom, as from their source,
    Proceed all visible ministers of good
    That walk the earth--Father of heaven and earth,
    Father, and king, and judge, adored and feared!
    These acts of mind, and memory, and heart,
    And spirit--interrupted and relieved                         575
    By observations transient as the glance
    Of flying sunbeams, or to the outward form
    Cleaving with power inherent and intense,
    As the mute insect fixed upon the plant                      579
    On whose soft leaves it hangs, and from whose cup
    It draws its nourishment imperceptibly--[257]
    Endeared my wanderings; and the mother's kiss
    And infant's smile awaited my return.

      "In privacy we dwelt, a wedded pair,
    Companions daily, often all day long;                        585
    Not placed by fortune within easy reach
    Of various intercourse, nor wishing aught
    Beyond the allowance of our own fire-side,
    The twain within our happy cottage born,
    Inmates, and heirs of our united love;                       590
    Graced mutually by difference of sex,
    And with[258] no wider interval of time
    Between their several births than served for one
    To establish something of a leader's sway;
    Yet left them joined by sympathy in age;                     595
    Equals in pleasure, fellows in pursuit.
    On these two pillars rested as in air
    Our solitude.
                   "It soothes me to perceive,
    Your courtesy withholds not from my words
    Attentive audience. But, oh! gentle Friends,                 600
    As times of quiet and unbroken peace,
    Though, for a nation, times of blessedness,
    Give back faint echoes from the historian's page;
    So, in the imperfect sounds of this discourse,
    Depressed I hear, how faithless is the voice                 605
    Which those most blissful days reverberate.
    What special record can, or need, be given
    To rules and habits, whereby much was done,
    But all within the sphere of little things;
    Of humble, though, to us, important cares,                   610
    And precious interests? Smoothly did our life
    Advance, swerving not[259] from the path prescribed;
    Her annual, her diurnal, round alike
    Maintained with faithful care. And you divine
    The worst effects that[260] our condition saw                615
    If you imagine changes slowly wrought,
    And in their progress[261] unperceivable;[262]
    Not wished for; sometimes noticed with a sigh,
    (Whate'er of good or lovely they might bring)
    Sighs of regret, for the familiar good                       620
    And loveliness endeared which they removed.

      "Seven years of occupation undisturbed
    Established seemingly a right to hold
    That happiness; and use and habit gave
    To what an alien spirit had acquired                         625
    A patrimonial sanctity. And thus,
    With thoughts and wishes bounded to this world,
    I lived and breathed; most grateful--if to enjoy
    Without repining or desire for more,
    For different lot, or change to higher sphere,               630
    (Only except some impulses of pride
    With no determined object, though upheld
    By theories with suitable support)--
    Most grateful, if in such wise to enjoy
    Be proof of gratitude for what we have;                      635
    Else, I allow, most thankless.--But, at once,
    From some dark seat of fatal power was urged
    A claim that shattered all.--Our blooming girl,
    Caught in the gripe of death, with such brief time
    To struggle in as scarcely would allow                       640
    Her cheek to change its colour, was conveyed
    From us to inaccessible worlds, to regions[263]
    Where height, or depth, admits not the approach
    Of living man, though longing to pursue.
    --With even as brief a warning--and how soon,                645
    With what short interval of time between,
    I tremble yet to think of--our last prop,
    Our happy life's only remaining stay--
    The brother followed; and was seen no more![DK]

      "Calm as a frozen lake when ruthless winds                 650
    Blow fiercely, agitating earth and sky,
    The Mother now remained; as if in her,
    Who, to the lowest region of the soul,
    Had been erewhile unsettled and disturbed,
    This second visitation had no power                          655
    To shake; but only to bind up and seal;
    And to establish thankfulness of heart
    In Heaven's determinations, ever just.
    The eminence whereon[264] her spirit stood,
    Mine was unable to attain. Immense                           660
    The space that severed us! But, as the sight
    Communicates with heaven's ethereal orbs
    Incalculably distant; so, I felt
    That consolation may descend from far
    (And that is intercourse, and union, too,)                   665
    While, overcome with speechless gratitude,
    And, with a holier love inspired, I looked
    On her--at once superior to my woes
    And partner of my loss.--O heavy change!
    Dimness o'er this clear luminary crept                       670
    Insensibly;--the immortal and divine
    Yielded to mortal reflux; her pure glory,
    As from the pinnacle of worldly state
    Wretched ambition drops astounded, fell
    Into a gulf obscure of silent grief,                         675
    And keen heart-anguish--of itself ashamed,
    Yet obstinately cherishing itself:
    And, so consumed, she melted from my arms;
    And left me, on this earth, disconsolate!

      "What followed cannot be reviewed in thought;              680
    Much less, retraced in words. If she, of life
    Blameless, so intimate with love and joy
    And all the tender motions of the soul,
    Had been supplanted, could I hope to stand--
    Infirm, dependent, and now destitute?                        685
    I called on dreams and visions, to disclose
    That which is veiled from waking thought; conjured
    Eternity, as men constrain a ghost
    To appear and answer; to the grave I spake
    Imploringly;--looked up, and asked the Heavens               690
    If Angels traversed their cerulean floors,
    If fixed or wandering star could tidings yield
    Of the departed spirit--what abode
    It occupies--what consciousness retains
    Of former loves and interests. Then my soul                  695
    Turned inward,--to examine of what stuff
    Time's fetters are composed; and life was put
    To inquisition, long and profitless!
    By pain of heart--now checked--and now impelled--
    The intellectual power, through words and things,            700
    Went sounding on, a dim and perilous way![DL]
    And from those transports, and these toils abstruse,
    Some trace am I enabled to retain
    Of time, else lost;--existing unto me
    Only by records in myself not found.                         705

      "From that abstraction I was roused,--and how?
    Even as a thoughtful shepherd by a flash
    Of lightning startled in a gloomy cave
    Of these wild hills. For, lo! the dread Bastile,[DM]
    With all the chambers in its horrid towers,                  710
    Fell to the ground:--by violence overthrown
    Of indignation; and with shouts that drowned
    The crash it made in falling! From the wreck
    A golden palace rose, or seemed to rise,
    The appointed seat of equitable law                          715
    And mild paternal sway. The potent shock
    I felt: the transformation I perceived,
    As marvellously seized as in that moment
    When, from the blind mist issuing, I beheld
    Glory--beyond all glory ever seen,                           720
    Confusion infinite of heaven and earth,
    Dazzling the soul. Meanwhile, prophetic harps
    In every grove were ringing, 'War shall cease;
    Did ye not hear that conquest is abjured?
    Bring garlands, bring forth choicest flowers, to deck        725
    The tree of Liberty.'[DN]--My heart rebounded;
    My melancholy voice the chorus joined;
    --'Be joyful all ye nations; in all lands,
    Ye that are capable of joy be glad!
    Henceforth, whate'er is wanting to yourselves                730
    In others ye shall promptly find;--and all,
    Enriched by mutual and reflected wealth,
    Shall with one heart honour their common kind.'[265]

      "Thus was I reconverted to the world;
    Society became my glittering bride,                          735
    And airy hopes my children.--From the depths
    Of natural passion, seemingly escaped,
    My soul diffused herself[266] in wide embrace
    Of institutions, and the forms of things,
    As they exist, in mutable array,                             740
    Upon life's surface. What, though in my veins
    There flowed no Gallic blood, nor had I breathed
    The air of France, not less than Gallic zeal
    Kindled and burnt among the sapless twigs
    Of my exhausted heart. If busy men                           745
    In sober conclave met, to weave a web
    Of amity, whose living threads should stretch
    Beyond the seas, and to the farthest pole,
    There did I sit, assisting. If, with noise
    And acclamation, crowds in open air                          750
    Expressed the tumult of their minds, my voice
    There mingled, heard or not. The powers of song
    I left not uninvoked; and, in still groves,
    Where mild enthusiasts tuned a pensive lay
    Of thanks and expectation, in accord                         755
    With their belief, I sang Saturnian rule
    Returned,--a progeny of golden years
    Permitted to descend, and bless mankind.
    --With promises the Hebrew Scriptures teem:
    I felt their[267] invitation; and resumed                    760
    A long-suspended office in the House
    Of public worship, where, the glowing phrase
    Of ancient inspiration serving me,
    I promised also,--with undaunted trust
    Foretold, and added prayer to prophecy;                      765
    The admiration winning of the crowd;
    The help desiring of the pure devout.

      "Scorn and contempt forbid me to proceed!
    But History, time's slavish scribe, will tell
    How rapidly the zealots of the cause                         770
    Disbanded--or in hostile ranks appeared;
    Some, tired of honest service; these, outdone,
    Disgusted therefore, or appalled, by aims
    Of fiercer zealots--so confusion reigned,
    And the more faithful were compelled to exclaim,             775
    As Brutus did to Virtue, 'Liberty,
    I worshipped thee, and find thee but a Shade!'[DO]

      "Such recantation had for me no charm,
    Nor would I bend to it; who should have grieved
    At aught, however fair, that[268] bore the mien              780
    Of a conclusion, or catastrophe.
    Why then conceal, that, when the simply[269] good
    In timid selfishness withdrew, I sought
    Other support, not scrupulous whence it came;
    And, by what compromise it stood, not nice?                  785
    Enough if notions seemed to be high-pitched,
    And qualities determined.--Among men
    So charactered did I maintain a strife[270]
    Hopeless, and still more hopeless every hour;
    But, in the process, I began to feel                         790
    That, if the emancipation of the world
    Were missed, I should at least secure my own,
    And be in part compensated. For rights,
    Widely--inveterately usurped upon,
    I spake with vehemence; and promptly seized                  795
    All that[271] Abstraction furnished for my needs
    Or purposes;[DP] nor scrupled to proclaim,
    And propagate, by liberty of life,
    Those new persuasions. Not that I rejoiced,
    Or even found pleasure, in such vagrant course,              800
    For its own sake; but farthest from the walk
    Which I had trod in happiness and peace,
    Was most inviting to a troubled mind;
    That, in a struggling and distempered world,
    Saw a seductive image of herself.[272]                       805
    Yet, mark the contradictions of which Man
    Is still the sport! Here Nature was my guide,
    The Nature of the dissolute; but thee,
    O fostering Nature! I rejected--smiled
    At others' tears in pity; and in scorn                       810
    At those, which thy soft influence sometimes drew
    From my unguarded heart.--The tranquil shores
    Of Britain circumscribed me; else, perhaps
    I might have been entangled among deeds,
    Which, now, as infamous, I should abhor--                    815
    Despise, as senseless: for my spirit relished
    Strangely the exasperation of that Land,
    Which turned an angry beak against the down
    Of her own breast; confounded into hope
    Of disencumbering thus her fretful wings.[273]               820

      "But all was quieted by iron bonds
    Of military sway. The shifting aims,
    The moral interests, the creative might,
    The varied functions and high attributes
    Of civil action, yielded to a power                          825
    Formal, and odious, and contemptible.
    --In Britain, ruled a panic dread of change;
    The weak were praised, rewarded, and advanced;
    And, from the impulse of a just disdain,
    Once more did I retire into myself.                          830
    There feeling no contentment, I resolved
    To fly, for safeguard, to some foreign shore,
    Remote from Europe; from her blasted hopes;
    Her fields of carnage, and polluted air.                     834

      "Fresh blew the wind, when o'er the Atlantic Main
    The ship went gliding with her thoughtless crew;
    And who among them but an Exile, freed
    From discontent, indifferent, pleased to sit
    Among the busily-employed, not more
    With obligation charged, with service taxed,                 840
    Than the loose pendant--to the idle wind
    Upon the tall mast streaming. But, ye Powers
    Of soul and sense mysteriously allied,
    O, never let the Wretched, if a choice
    Be left him, trust the freight of his distress               845
    To a long voyage on the silent deep!
    For, like a plague, will memory break out;
    And, in the blank and solitude of things,
    Upon his spirit, with a fever's strength,
    Will conscience prey.--Feebly must they have felt            850
    Who, in old time, attired with snakes and whips
    The vengeful Furies. _Beautiful_ regards
    Were turned on me--the face of her I loved;
    The Wife and Mother pitifully fixing
    Tender reproaches, insupportable!                            855
    Where now that boasted liberty? No welcome
    From unknown objects I received; and those,
    Known and familiar, which the vaulted sky
    Did, in the placid clearness of the night,
    Disclose, had accusations to prefer                          860
    Against my peace. Within the cabin stood
    That volume--as a compass for the soul--
    Revered among the nations. I implored
    Its guidance; but the infallible support
    Of faith was wanting. Tell me, why refused                   865
    To One by storms annoyed and adverse winds;
    Perplexed with currents; of his weakness sick;
    Of vain endeavours tired; and by his own,
    And by his nature's, ignorance, dismayed!                    869

      "Long wished-for sight, the Western World appeared;
    And, when the ship was moored, I leaped ashore
    Indignantly--resolved to be a man,
    Who, having o'er the past no power, would live
    No longer in subjection to the past,
    With abject mind--from a tyrannic lord                       875
    Inviting penance, fruitlessly endured:
    So, like a fugitive, whose feet have cleared
    Some boundary, which his followers may not cross
    In prosecution of their deadly chase,
    Respiring I looked round.--How bright the sun,               880
    The breeze how soft! Can any thing produced[274]
    In the old World compare, thought I, for power
    And majesty with this gigantic stream,
    Sprung from the desert?[DQ] And behold a city                884
    Fresh, youthful, and aspiring![DR] What are these
    To me, or I to them? As much at least
    As he desires that they should be, whom winds
    And waves have wafted to this distant shore,
    In the condition of a damaged seed,
    Whose fibres cannot, if they would, take root.               890
    Here may I roam at large;--my business is,
    Roaming at large, to observe, and not to feel
    And, therefore, not to act--convinced that all
    Which bears the name of action, howsoe'er
    Beginning, ends in servitude--still painful,                 895
    And mostly profitless. And, sooth to say,
    On nearer view, a motley spectacle
    Appeared, of high pretensions--unreproved
    But by the obstreperous voice of higher still;
    Big passions strutting on a petty stage;                     900
    Which a detached spectator may regard
    Not unamused.--But ridicule demands
    Quick change of objects; and, to laugh alone,
    At a composing distance[275] from the haunts
    Of strife and folly, though it be a treat                    905
    As choice as musing Leisure can bestow;
    Yet, in the very centre of the crowd,
    To keep the secret of a poignant scorn,
    Howe'er to airy Demons suitable,
    Of all unsocial courses, is least fit[276]                   910
    For the gross spirit of mankind,--the one
    That soonest fails to please, and quickliest turns
    Into vexation.
                   "Let us, then, I said,
    Leave this unknit Republic to the scourge
    Of her[277] own passions; and to regions haste,              915
    Whose shades have never felt the encroaching axe,
    Or soil endured a transfer in the mart
    Of dire rapacity. There, Man abides,
    Primeval Nature's child. A creature weak
    In combination, (wherefore else driven back                  920
    So far, and of his old inheritance
    So easily deprived?) but, for that cause,
    More dignified, and stronger in himself;
    Whether to act, judge, suffer, or enjoy.
    True, the intelligence of social art                         925
    Hath overpowered his forefathers, and soon
    Will sweep the remnant of his line away;
    But contemplations, worthier, nobler far
    Than her destructive energies, attend
    His independence, when along the side                        930
    Of Mississippi, or that northern stream[DS]
    That[278] spreads into successive seas,[DT] he walks;
    Pleased to perceive his own unshackled life,
    And his innate capacities of soul,
    There imaged: or when, having gained the top                 935
    Of some commanding eminence, which yet
    Intruder ne'er beheld, he thence surveys
    Regions of wood and wide savannah, vast
    Expanse of unappropriated earth,
    With mind that sheds a light on what he sees;                940
    Free as the sun, and lonely as the sun,
    Pouring above his head its radiance down
    Upon a living and rejoicing world!

      "So, westward, tow'rd the unviolated woods
    I bent my way; and, roaming far and wide,                    945
    Failed not to greet the merry Mocking-bird;[DU]
    And, while the melancholy Muccawiss
    (The sportive bird's companion in the grove)
    Repeated, o'er and o'er, his plaintive cry,[DV]
    I sympathised at leisure with the sound;                     950
    But that pure archetype of human greatness,
    I found him not. There, in his stead, appeared
    A creature, squalid, vengeful, and impure;
    Remorseless, and submissive to no law
    But superstitious fear, and abject sloth.                    955

      "Enough is told! Here am I--ye have heard
    What evidence I seek, and vainly seek;
    What from my fellow-beings I require,
    And either they have not to give, or I
    Lack virtue to receive; what I myself,                       960
    Too oft by wilful forfeiture, have lost[279]
    Nor can regain. How languidly I look
    Upon this visible fabric of the world,
    May be divined--perhaps it hath been said:--
    But spare your pity, if there be in me                       965
    Aught that deserves respect: for I exist,
    Within myself, not comfortless.--The tenour
    Which my life holds, he readily may conceive
    Whoe'er hath stood to watch a mountain brook
    In some still passage of its course, and seen,               970
    Within the depths of its capacious breast,
    Inverted trees, rocks, clouds, and azure sky;[280]
    And, on its glassy surface, specks of foam,
    And conglobated bubbles undissolved,
    Numerous as stars; that, by their onward lapse,              975
    Betray to sight the motion of the stream,
    Else imperceptible. Meanwhile, is heard
    A softened roar, or murmur;[281] and the sound
    Though soothing, and the little floating isles
    Though beautiful, are both by Nature charged                 980
    With the same pensive office; and make known
    Through what perplexing labyrinths, abrupt
    Precipitations, and untoward straits,
    The earth-born wanderer hath passed; and quickly,
    That respite o'er, like traverses and toils                  985
    Must he again encounter.[282]--Such a stream
    Is human Life; and so the Spirit fares
    In the best quiet to her[283] course allowed;
    And such is mine,--save only for a hope
    That my particular current soon will reach                   990
    The unfathomable gulf, where all is still!"


[Footnote 211: 1827.

    ... the ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 212: 1836.

    A place of refuge seeking ...                                1814.

[Footnote 213: 1827.

    ... it draws its ...                                         1814.

[Footnote 214: 1814.

    ... his ...                                                  1832.

    1845 returns to 1814.

[Footnote 215: 1827.

    ... At the word
    We followed where he led:--a sudden turn                     1814.

[Footnote 216: 1827.

    ...yet thereon appeared
    Conspicuously stationed, one fair Plant,                     1814.

[Footnote 217: 1827.

    ...which ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 218: 1827.

    You have decried, in no unseemly terms
    Of modesty, that wealth which is your own.                   1814.

[Footnote 219: 1827.

    I cannot but incline to a belief
    That in these shows ...                                      1814.

[Footnote 220: 1827.

    ... should perhaps have blamed myself,                       1814.

[Footnote 221: 1827.

    ... lurked                                                   1814.

[Footnote 222: 1827.

    ... look around me,                                         1814.

[Footnote 223: 1827.

                                      ... deemed,
    Is He (if such have ever entered here)
    The wandering Herbalist,-- ...                               1814.

[Footnote 224: 1827.

                          ... vexing thoughts,
    Casts on these uncouth Forms ...                             1814.

[Footnote 225: 1827.

    Of every luckless rock or stone that stands
    Before his sight, by weather-stains disguised,
    Or crusted o'er with vegetation thin,
    Nature's first growth, ...                                   1814.

[Footnote 226: 1827.

    Doth to the substance give some barbarous name,
    Then ...                                                     1814.

[Footnote 227: 1845.

    ... if haply interveined                                     1814.

[Footnote 228: 1827.

    This earnest Pair may range from hill to hill,
    And, ...                                                     1814.

[Footnote 229: 1845.

    ... no pain is in their sport."                              1814.

[Footnote 230: 1827.

    Framed ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 231: 1814.

    Nor for ...                                                  1827.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1814.]

[Footnote 232: 1827.

    As sound; with that blithe race who wore erewhile
    Their golden Grasshoppers, in sign that they
    Had sprung from out the soil whereon they dwelt.             1814.

[Footnote 233: 1827.

    On serious minds; for doubtless, in one sense,
    The theme _is_ serious; then, as Hindoos draw                1814.

[Footnote 234: 1827.

    ... its ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 235: 1827.

    ... or, if such may seem
    Its tendency, to be engulphed and lost                       1814.

[Footnote 236: 1827.

    ... thereby ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 237: 1845.

    ... be ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 238: 1814.

    Embellished by sweet flowers, by springs refreshed.             C.

[Footnote 239: 1836.

    Thus I exclaimed, "no sadness sheds on me,                   1814.

[Footnote 240: 1827.

    Yes," said I, "shall the immunities to which
    She doth lay claim, the precepts she bestows,                1814.

[Footnote 241: 1827.

    Did place, in ...                                            1814.

[Footnote 242: 1845.

    ... memory are as one;
    Earth quiet and unchanged; the human Soul                    1814.

[Footnote 243: 1845.

    Such was their scheme:--thrice happy he who gained
    The end proposed! And,--though the same were missed
    By multitudes, perhaps obtained by none,--
    They, for the attempt, and for the pains employed,           1814.

[Footnote 244: 1832.

    ... its ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 245: 1836.

    But that which was serene ...                                1814.

[Footnote 246: Italics were first used in 1836.]

[Footnote 247: 1827.

    Sharp contradictions hourly shall arise
    To cross the way; and we, perchance, by doom
    Of this same life, shall be compelled to grieve              1814.

[Footnote 248: Italics were first used in 1832.]

[Footnote 249: 1827.

    With sorrowful events; and we, who heard
    And saw, were moved. Desirous to divert,                     1814.

    With trouble, conflict that he seeks and shuns
    With the same breath, desirous to divert                        C.

[Footnote 250: 1827.

    ... which seemed
    A nook for self-examination framed,                          1814.

[Footnote 251: 1827.

    Towards ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 252: 1836.

    ... thus his speech ...                                      1814.

[Footnote 253: 1836.

    I would not yet be ...                                       1814.

[Footnote 254: 1827.

    ... its ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 255: 1827.

    Of willingness with which ...                                1814.

[Footnote 256: 1845.

      But in due season Nature interfered,
    And called my Partner to resign her share
    In the pure freedom of that wedded life,                     1814.

      But Nature called my Partner to resign
    Her share in the pure freedom of that life,                  1827.

[Footnote 257: 1845.

    Draws imperceptibly its nourishment,--                       1814.

[Footnote 258: 1845.

                ... of sex,
    By the endearing names of nature bound,
    And with ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 259: 1836.

    ... not swerving ...                                         1814.

[Footnote 260: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 261: 1814.

    ... process ...                                              1850.

[Footnote 262: 1845.

    ... imperceptible,                                           1814.

[Footnote 263: 1845.

    From us, to regions inaccessible;                            1814.

[Footnote 264: 1845.

    ... on which ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 265: 1832.

    "Be rich by mutual and reflected wealth."                    1814.

[Footnote 266: 1827.

    ... itself ...                                               1814.

[Footnote 267: 1840.

    ... the ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 268: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 269: 1827.

    ... simple ...                                               1814.

[Footnote 270: 1827.

    And qualities determined.--Ruling such,
    And with such herding, I maintained a strife                 1814.


[Footnote 271: 1836.

    Whate'er                                                     1814.

[Footnote 272: 1827.

    Beheld a cherished image of itself.                          1814.

    Beheld a seductive image of herself.                           MS.

[Footnote 273: 1827.

                        ... for I strangely relished
    The exasperated spirit of that Land,
    Which turned an angry beak against the down
    Of its own breast; as if it hoped, thereby,
    To disencumber its impatient wings.                          1814.

[Footnote 274: 1845.

    How promising the Breeze! Can aught produced                 1814.

[Footnote 275: 1827.

    ... and, to laugh alone,
    In woods and wilds, or any lonely place,
    At a composing distance ...                                  1814.

[Footnote 276: 1827.

    May suit an airy Demon; but, of all
    Unsocial courses, 'tis the one least fit                     1814.

[Footnote 277: 1827.

    ... its ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 278: 1827.

    Which ...                                                    1814.

[Footnote 279: 1845.

          ... I require,
    And cannot find; what I myself have lost,                    1814.

[Footnote 280: 1836.

    Inverted trees, and rocks, and azure sky;                    1814.

[Footnote 281: 1836.

    Perchance, a roar or murmur; ...                             1814.

    A softened roar, a murmur; ...                               1827.

                  ... Meanwhile, a roar
    Is heard or soften'd murmur; ...                               MS.

[Footnote 282: 1845.

    Must be again encountered.-- ...                             1814.

[Footnote 283: 1836.

    ... its ...                                                  1814.


[Footnote CS: There is still a single "yew-tree" high up the eastern side
of the valley on the face of Lingmoor Fell,

    Darkening the silver bosom of the crag.                        ED.

[Footnote CT: The local allusions in this passage, and in what follows,
are most exact and literal. The three men are supposed to leave the
cottage, and to cross to the west side of the tarn, just a little to the
north of the fir-wood which overshadows it. The "barrier of steep rock"
is the low perpendicular crag to the west of the tarn, immediately below
the fir-wood, and the "semicirque of turf-clad ground" is apparent at a
glance, whether seen from below the rock or from above it. There are many
fragments of ice-borne rock, high up the flank of Blake Rigg to the west,
and on the slopes of Lingmoor to the east, which might at first sight be
mistaken for the stone, like

    A stranded ship, with keel upturned, that rests
    Fearless of winds and waves,

or the

    fragment, like an altar;

but this particular mass of rock lay

    Right at the foot of that moist precipice,

and there it still lies, obvious enough even to the casual eye. The
"semicirque" is the cup-shaped recess between the fir-wood and the
cliff; and on entering it, the mass of rock is seen lying north-west
to north-east. It is not ice-borne, but a fragment dislodged from the
crag above it. It is now broken into three smaller fragments, by the
weathering of many years. Cracked probably when it fell, the rents have
widened, and the fragments are separated by the frosts of many winters.
A sycamore of average size is now growing at its side; its root being
in the cleft, where the stone is broken. Holly grows luxuriantly all
along the face of the crag above; so that the existence of the bush,
described as growing in the stone which resembled an altar, is easily
explained. The brook is a short one, flowing through the meadow-pastures
of the wood, and after a hundred yards is lost in the turfy slope,
but is seen again upon the face of the "moist precipice," "softly
creeping"--precisely as described in the poem. The "three several stones"
that "stand near" are, I think, the one to the front, in a line with the
keel of the ship; and the other two to the right and left respectively.
The "pair," with the "fragment like an altar, flat and smooth," are to
the left, and close at hand.

In connection with all this a remark of Southey's to J. Neville White may
be quoted. "Keswick, September 7, 1814.... Have you read Wordsworth's
poem? If not, read it, if you can, before you see the author. You will
see him with the more pleasure, and look with more interest at the
scenery he describes." (_Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey_,
vol. ii. p. 376.)--ED.]

[Footnote CU: Lady Richardson writes thus of a visit Wordsworth paid to
Lancrigg in 1841:--"We took a walk on the terrace, and he went as usual
to his favourite points. On our return he was struck with the berries
on the holly tree, and said, 'Why should not you and I go and pull some
berries from the other side of the tree, which is not seen from the
window? and then we can go and plant them in the rocky ground behind the
house.' We pulled the berries, and set forth with our tools. I made the
holes, and the poet put in the berries. He was as earnest and eager about
it as if it had been a matter of importance, and, as he put the seeds in,
he every now and then muttered, in his low, solemn tone, that beautiful
verse from Burns' _Vision_:--

    'And wear thou this,' she solemn said,
    And bound the holly round my head:
    The polish'd leaves, and berries red,
              Did rustling play;
    And, like a passing thought, she fled
              In light away.

He clambered to the highest rocks in the 'Tom Intak,' and put in the
berries in such situations as Nature sometimes does, with such true and
beautiful effect. He said, 'I like to do this for posterity.'"--ED.]

[Footnote CV:

    --Voiceless the stream descends ...
    With timid lapse ...

is a perfect description of this tiniest and gentlest of rills, flowing
through the meadow-grass; while the "chasm of sky above," of which the
Wanderer speaks, though an obvious exaggeration, is more appropriate to
this spot than to any other in the vale.--ED.]

[Footnote CW: See Wordsworth's note, p. 385.--ED.]

[Footnote CX: Stonehenge. Old legends gave it a mythic origin. Geoffrey
of Monmouth attributed it to Merlin, the stones having been brought over
from Ireland by magic. It was not a Druid Temple, but a Saxon ring, set
up--after the Romans had left Britain--for parliamentary and coronation
purposes. "Roman pottery and coins have been found under the stones, and
they are fitted with mortice and tenon, an art unknown in Britain till it
was taught by the Romans." Compare Dryden's _Epistle to Dr. Charleton_
(Ep. II.)

    Stonehenge, once thought a temple, you have found
    A throne, where kings, our earthly Gods, were crown'd.

and Henry Crabb Robinson's account of a visit to Stonehenge, in the
second volume of his _Diary and Correspondence_, p. 230.--ED.]

[Footnote CY: This must refer to Palmyra. The Baalbec ruins are, for the
most part, not marble, but limestone.--ED.]

[Footnote CZ: The Navagos and several other American tribes have this
legend; but see Note B in the Appendix to this volume, p. 392.--ED.]

[Footnote DA: Before the time of Solon, the Athenians wore golden
τέττιγες--probably either brooches, or pins with a golden cicada for
the head--as a sign that they considered themselves αὐτόχθονες, since
the grasshopper τέττιξ (cicada) was supposed to spring out of the

[Footnote DB: The Ganges--sacred river of India--rising in the snow-clad
Himalaya, was believed to have a celestial origin.--ED.]

[Footnote DC: The great river of Western Africa, which was supposed,
until recent geographical discovery, to lose itself in the sand.--ED.]

[Footnote DE: Compare _The Prelude_, book viii. I. 133 (see vol. iii. p.
276). Also _In Memoriam_, stanza xxiii.--

        And round us all the thicket rang
    To many a flute of Arcady.                                     ED.

[Footnote DF: The end sought by Epicurus, the _summum bonum_ of the
Epicurean school, was ἀταραξία, repose or peace of mind. This was to be
obtained by freedom from pain of body or distraction of mind; but it
consisted in the harmony or equilibrium that resulted, when disturbing
influences were withdrawn. To attain to it, little was needed--mental
enjoyments being superior to bodily ones, and the social joys of
friendship the highest of all. Public life was renounced, and private
friendship became the bond of union amongst the members of the Epicurean
confraternity: but the root principle of the system was emotional, not

[Footnote DG: Rational self-control being regarded as the chief good by
the Stoics, the emotion of happiness was looked upon as an interruption
of the equilibrium in which the wise man should live. All the emotions
were diseases, or disturbances of human nature less or more. They had
therefore to be uprooted, rather than regulated: and virtue consisted in
being emotionless, passionless, apathetic, with life conformed to the
laws of the pure reason, so that one came to be

    A reasoning self-sufficing thing,
    An intellectual all-in-all.                                    ED.

[Footnote DH: Compare the No. vi. Sonnet on _The Trosachs_ (ll. 1-5), in
"Yarrow Revisited, and other Poems" (1831).--ED.]

[Footnote DI: These are reminiscences of Wordsworth's life at Racedown
and Alfoxden. His sister wrote thus of their residence at Alfoxden:--"We
are three miles from Stowey, and not two miles from the sea. Wherever we
turn we have woods, smooth downs, and valleys with small brooks running
down them, through green meadows, hardly ever intersected with hedgerows,
but scattered over with trees. The hills that cradle these valleys are
either covered with fern and bilberries, or oak woods, which are cut for
charcoal.... Walks extend for miles over the hill-tops; the great beauty
of which is their wild simplicity: they are perfectly smooth, without
rocks."--_Memoirs of William Wordsworth_, by his nephew Christopher
Wordsworth, late Bishop of Lincoln, vol. i. p. 103.--ED.]

[Footnote DJ: See the note on the preceding page.--ED.]

[Footnote DK: Wordsworth's own children, Catherine and Thomas, were
removed by death, in a manner very similar to this, in June and December
1812, while they were living in the Grasmere Parsonage. Compare the two

    Surprised by joy--impatient as the Wind,



    Desponding Father! mark this altered bough,


[Footnote DL: Compare _The Borderers_, act IV. 11. 124, 125 (see vol. i.
p. 198)--

    Three sleepless nights I passed in sounding on,
    Through words and things, a dim and perilous way.              ED.

[Footnote DM: See _The Prelude_, book ix. 1. 68 (vol. iii. p. 295).--ED.]

[Footnote DN: During the American War of Independence, trees were planted
as symbols of freedom. This custom passed over to France. The Jacobins
planted the first tree of Liberty in Paris in 1790, and the practice
spread rapidly. At each revolutionary period it was revived, and during
the Empire again suppressed. A treatise has been written on the custom,
by the Abbé Grégoire.--ED.]

[Footnote DO: It is recorded by Dion Cassius (see _Dionis Cassii
Cocceiani Historiarum Romanarum quae supersunt_, lib. xlvii. § 49) that
Brutus before his death repeated this saying of Hercules,

    O misera virtus, nomen inane. Te quidem
    Ceu rem colebam; at serva tu Fortunae eras.                    ED.

[Footnote DP: "At the commencement of the French Revolution, in
the remotest villages every tongue was employed in echoing and
enforcing the almost geometrical abstractions of the physiocratic
politicians and economists. The public roads were crowded with armed
enthusiasts disputing on the inalienable sovereignty of the people, the
imprescriptible laws of the pure reason, and the universal constitution,
which, as rising out of the nature and rights of man as man, all nations
alike were under the obligation of adopting."-S.T. Coleridge, _The
Statesman's Manual, a Lay Sermon_ (1816), p. 19.--ED.]

[Footnote DQ: The Hudson river, some of the sources of which rise in the
Adirondack wilderness.--ED.]

[Footnote DR: New York.--ED.]

[Footnote DS: See Wordsworth's note, p. 386.--ED.]

[Footnote DT: The St. Lawrence.--ED.]

[Footnote DU: "The Mocking Bird (_Turdus polyglottus_, Linn.), the
American nightingale. He has a voice full, strong, and musical, and
capable of almost every modulation, from the clear mellow tones of the
Wood Thrush, to the savage scream of the Bald Eagle. In measure and
accent he faithfully follows his originals. In force and sweetness of
expression he greatly improves upon them. In his native groves, his song
rises pre-eminent over every competitor. Neither is his strain altogether
imitative. His notes are bold and full, and varied seemingly beyond all
limits. They consist of short expressions of two, three, or, at the most,
five or six syllables; generally interspersed with imitations, and all
of them uttered with great emphasis and rapidity, and continued with
undiminished ardour for half an hour, or an hour at a time."--_American
Ornithology_, by Wilson, Bonaparte, and Jardine, vol. i. p. 164,

[Footnote DV: I was indebted to Mr. Edward B. Tylor, and also to the
Rev. Charles M. Addison, of Arlington, Mass., for identifying the
"melancholy Muccawiss" as the Whip-poor-will (_Caprimulgus vociferus_,
or _Antrostomus vociferus_). "Their melancholy night song has led some
Indians to consider them the souls of ancestors killed in battle."--Mr.
Tylor. For letters in reference to the Muccawiss, see Note C in the
Appendix to this volume, p. 393; and compare Charles Waterton's
_Wanderings in South America_, etc. etc. (1828), and Wordsworth's poem,
_A Morning Exercise_, written in 1828.

Since Messrs. Tylor, Addison, and Col. Trumbull identified the Muccawiss
with the Whip-poor-will, I have had access to the original MSS. of _The
Excursion_; and have found that the point which is discussed--in the
above note and in Note C in the Appendix--is set conclusively at rest, by
one of the earlier (discarded) readings of the text in Wordsworth's own

              "and verily was cheered
    By the blithe Mocking Bird, and heard alone
    The melancholy cry of whip-pow-will."

Another version of the last line is also given,

    "The plaintive cry repeated whip-poor-will."

I entertain no doubt that Wordsworth first of all met with the name of
this bird, whip-pow-will, in Waterton's _Wanderings_ (a copy of which
he possessed), and that he afterwards exchanged it--before sending
his _Excursion_ to press, in 1814--for the more musical Indian name,

It is also worthy of note that Southey had transferred to his
_Commonplace Book_ (see vol. ii. p. 567), Carver's account of the
Whipper-will, or as it is termed by the Indians, Muckawiss. "As soon as
night comes on these birds will place themselves on the fences, stumps,
or stones that lie near some house, and repeat their melancholy note
without any variation till midnight." (_Travels_, by Jonathan Carver, p.

=Book Fourth=



    _State of feeling produced by the foregoing Narrative--A belief
    in a superintending Providence the only adequate support
    under affliction--Wanderer's ejaculation[284]--Acknowledges
    the difficulty of a lively faith--Hence immoderate
    sorrow[285]--Exhortations--How received--Wanderer applies[286]
    his discourse to that other cause of dejection in the Solitary's
    mind--Disappointment from[287] the French Revolution--States
    grounds[288] of hope, and insists[289] on the necessity of
    patience and fortitude with respect to the course of great
    revolutions[290]--Knowledge the source of tranquillity--Rural
    Solitude favourable to[291] knowledge of the inferior Creatures;
    Study of their habits and ways recommended;[292] exhortation
    to bodily exertion and communion[293] with Nature--Morbid
    Solitude pitiable[294]--Superstition better than apathy--Apathy
    and destitution unknown in the infancy of society--The
    various modes of Religion prevented it--Illustrated[295] in
    the Jewish, Persian, Babylonian, Chaldean, and Grecian modes
    of belief--Solitary interposes--Wanderer[296] points out the
    influence of religious and imaginative feeling in the humble
    ranks of society, illustrated[297] from present and past
    times--These principles[298] tend to recal exploded superstitions
    and popery--Wanderer rebuts this charge, and contrasts the
    dignities of the Imagination with the presumptuous[299]
    littleness of certain modern Philosophers--Recommends[300] other
    lights and guides--Asserts the power of the Soul to regenerate
    herself; Solitary asks how[301]--Reply--Personal appeal[302]--
    Exhortation to activity of body renewed--How to commune with
    Nature--Wanderer concludes with a[303] legitimate union of the
    imagination, affections, understanding, and reason[304]--Effect
    of his discourse[305]--Evening; return to the Cottage._

    Here closed the Tenant of that lonely vale
    His mournful narrative--commenced in pain,
    In pain commenced, and ended without peace:
    Yet tempered, not unfrequently, with strains
    Of native feeling, grateful to our minds;                      5
    And yielding surely[306] some relief to his,
    While we sate listening with compassion due.
    A pause of silence followed; then, with voice
    That did not falter though the heart was moved,[307]
    The Wanderer said:--
                          "One adequate support                   10
    For the calamities of mortal life
    Exists--one only; an assured belief
    That the procession of our fate, howe'er
    Sad or disturbed, is ordered by a Being
    Of infinite benevolence and power;                            15
    Whose everlasting purposes embrace
    All accidents, converting them to good.
    --The darts of anguish _fix_ not where the seat
    Of suffering hath been thoroughly fortified
    By acquiescence in the Will supreme                           20
    For time and for eternity; by faith,
    Faith absolute in God, including hope,
    And the defence that lies in boundless love
    Of his perfections; with habitual dread
    Of aught unworthily conceived, endured                        25
    Impatiently, ill-done, or left undone,
    To the dishonour of his holy name.
    Soul of our Souls, and safeguard of the world!
    Sustain, thou only canst, the sick of heart;
    Restore their languid spirits, and recal                      30
    Their lost affections unto thee and thine!"[DW]

      Then, as we issued from that covert nook,
    He thus continued, lifting up his eyes
    To heaven:--"How beautiful this dome of sky;
    And the vast hills, in fluctuation fixed                      35
    At thy command, how awful! Shall the Soul,
    Human and rational, report of thee
    Even less than these?--Be mute who will, who can,
    Yet I will praise thee with impassioned voice:
    My lips, that may forgot[*printer's error?] thee in the crowd,  40
    Cannot forget thee here; where thou hast built,
    For thy own glory, in the wilderness!
    Me didst thou constitute a priest of thine,
    In such a temple as we now behold
    Reared for thy presence: therefore, am I bound                45
    To worship, here, and every where--as one
    Not doomed to ignorance, though forced to tread,
    From childhood up, the ways of poverty;
    From unreflecting ignorance preserved,
    And from debasement rescued.--By thy grace                    50
    The particle divine remained unquenched;
    And, 'mid the wild weeds of a rugged soil,
    Thy bounty caused to flourish deathless flowers,
    From paradise transplanted: wintry age
    Impends; the frost will gather round my heart;                55
    If the flowers wither,[308] I am worse than dead!
    --Come, labour, when the worn-out frame requires
    Perpetual sabbath; come, disease and want;
    And sad exclusion through decay of sense;
    But leave me unabated trust in thee--                         60
    And let thy favour, to the end of life,
    Inspire me with ability to seek
    Repose and hope among eternal things--
    Father of heaven and earth! and I am rich,
    And will possess my portion in content!                       65

      "And what are things eternal?--powers depart,"
    The grey-haired Wanderer stedfastly replied,
    Answering the question which himself had asked,
    "Possessions vanish, and opinions change,
    And passions hold a fluctuating seat:                         70
    But, by the storms of circumstance unshaken,
    And subject neither to eclipse nor[309] wane,
    Duty exists;--immutably survive,
    For our support, the measures and the forms,
    Which an abstract intelligence supplies;                      75
    Whose kingdom is, where time and space are not.[DX]
    Of other converse which mind, soul, and heart,
    Do, with united urgency, require,
    What more that may not perish?--Thou, dread source,
    Prime, self-existing cause and end of all                     80
    That in the scale of being fill their place;
    Above our human region, or below,
    Set and sustained;--thou, who didst wrap the cloud
    Of infancy around us, that thyself,
    Therein, with our simplicity awhile                           85
    Might'st hold, on earth, communion undisturbed;[DY]
    Who from the anarchy of dreaming sleep,
    Or from its death-like void, with punctual care,
    And touch as gentle as the morning light,
    Restor'st us, daily, to the powers of sense                   90
    And reason's stedfast rule--thou, thou alone
    Art everlasting, and the blessed Spirits,
    Which thou includest, as the sea her waves:
    For adoration thou endur'st; endure
    For consciousness the motions of thy will;                    95
    For apprehension those transcendent truths
    Of the pure intellect, that stand as laws
    (Submission constituting strength and power)
    Even to thy Being's infinite majesty!
    This universe shall pass away--a work[310]                   100
    Glorious! because the shadow of thy might,
    A step, or link, for intercourse with thee.
    Ah! if the time must come, in which my feet
    No more shall stray where meditation leads,
    By flowing stream, through wood, or craggy wild,             105
    Loved haunts like these; the unimprisoned Mind
    May yet have scope to range among her own,
    Her thoughts, her images, her high desires.
    If the dear faculty of sight should fail,
    Still, it may be allowed me to remember                      110
    What visionary powers of eye and soul
    In youth were mine; when, stationed on the top
    Of some huge hill--expectant, I beheld
    The sun rise up,[DZ] from distant climes returned
    Darkness to chase, and sleep; and bring the day              115
    His bounteous gift! or saw him toward the deep[311]
    Sink, with a retinue of flaming clouds
    Attended; then, my spirit was entranced
    With joy exalted to beatitude;[EA]
    The measure of my soul was filled with bliss,                120
    And holiest love; as earth, sea, air, with light,
    With pomp, with glory, with magnificence!

      "Those fervent raptures are for ever flown;[EB]
    And, since their date, my soul hath undergone
    Change manifold, for better or for worse:                    125
    Yet cease I not to struggle, and aspire[312]
    Heavenward; and chide the part of me that flags,
    Through sinful choice; or dread necessity
    On human nature from above imposed.
    'Tis, by comparison, an easy task                            130
    Earth to despise;[EC] but, to converse with heaven--
    This is not easy:--to relinquish all
    We have, or hope, of happiness and joy,
    And stand in freedom loosened from this world,
    I deem not arduous; but must needs confess                   135
    That 'tis a thing impossible to frame
    Conceptions equal to the soul's desires;
    And the most difficult of tasks to _keep_
    Heights which the soul is competent to gain.
    --Man is of dust: ethereal hopes are his,                    140
    Which, when they should sustain themselves aloft,
    Want due consistence; like a pillar of smoke,
    That with majestic energy from earth
    Rises; but, having reached the thinner air,
    Melts, and dissolves, and is no longer seen.                 145
    From this infirmity of mortal kind
    Sorrow proceeds, which else were not; at least,
    If grief be something hallowed and ordained,
    If, in proportion, it be just and meet,
    Yet, through this weakness of the general heart,             150
    Is it enabled to maintain its hold[313]
    In that excess which conscience disapproves.
    For who could sink and settle to that point
    Of selfishness; so senseless who could be
    As long[314] and perseveringly to mourn                      155
    For any object of his love, removed
    From this unstable world, if he could fix
    A satisfying view upon that state
    Of pure, imperishable, blessedness,
    Which reason promises, and holy writ                         160
    Ensures to all believers?--Yet mistrust
    Is of such incapacity, methinks,
    No natural branch; despondency far less;[315]
    And, least of all, is absolute despair.[316]                 164
    --And, if there be whose tender frames have drooped
    Even to the dust; apparently, through weight
    Of anguish unrelieved, and lack of power
    An agonizing sorrow to transmute;
    Deem not that proof is here of hope withheld[317]
    When wanted most; a confidence impaired                      170
    So pitiably, that, having ceased to see
    With bodily eyes, they are borne down by love
    Of what is lost, and perish through regret.
    Oh! no, the innocent Sufferer often sees[318]
    Too clearly; feels too vividly; and longs                    175
    To realize the vision, with intense
    And over-constant yearning;--there--there lies
    The excess, by which the balance is destroyed.
    Too, too contracted are these walls of flesh,
    This vital warmth too cold, these visual orbs,               180
    Though inconceivably endowed, too dim
    For any passion of the soul that leads
    To ecstasy; and, all the crooked paths
    Of time and change disdaining, takes its course
    Along the line of limitless desires.                         185
    I, speaking now from such disorder free,
    Nor rapt, nor craving, but in settled peace,
    I cannot doubt that they whom you deplore
    Are glorified; or, if they sleep, shall wake
    From sleep, and dwell with God in endless love.              190
    Hope, below this, consists not with belief
    In mercy, carried infinite degrees
    Beyond the tenderness of human hearts:
    Hope, below this, consists not with belief
    In perfect wisdom, guiding mightiest power,                  195
    That finds no limits but her own pure will.[319]

      "Here then we rest; not fearing for our creed
    The worst that human reasoning can achieve,
    To unsettle or perplex it:[320] yet with pain
    Acknowledging, and grievous self-reproach,                   200
    That, though immovably convinced, we want
    Zeal, and the virtue to exist by faith
    As soldiers live by courage; as, by strength
    Of heart, the sailor fights with roaring seas.
    Alas! the endowment of immortal power                        205
    Is matched unequally with custom, time,[ED]
    And domineering faculties of sense
    In _all;_ in most with superadded foes,
    Idle temptations; open vanities,
    Ephemeral offspring[321] of the unblushing world;            210
    And, in the private regions of the mind,
    Ill-governed passions, ranklings of despite,
    Immoderate wishes, pining discontent,
    Distress and care. What then remains?--To seek
    Those helps for his occasions ever near                      215
    Who lacks not will to use them; vows, renewed
    On the first motion of a holy thought;
    Vigils of contemplation; praise; and prayer--
    A stream, which, from the fountain of the heart
    Issuing, however feebly, nowhere flows                       220
    Without access of unexpected strength.
    But, above all, the victory is most sure
    For him, who, seeking faith by virtue, strives
    To yield entire submission to the law
    Of conscience--conscience reverenced and obeyed,             225
    As God's most intimate presence in the soul,
    And his most perfect image in the world.
    --Endeavour thus to live; these rules regard;
    These helps solicit; and a stedfast seat
    Shall then be yours among the happy few                      230
    Who dwell on earth, yet breathe empyreal air,
    Sons of the morning.[EE] For your nobler part,
    Ere disencumbered of her mortal chains,
    Doubt shall be quelled and trouble chased away;
    With only such degree of sadness left                        235
    As may support longings of pure desire;
    And strengthen love, rejoicing secretly
    In the sublime attractions of the grave."

      While, in this strain, the venerable Sage
    Poured forth his aspirations, and announced                  240
    His judgments, near that lonely house we paced
    A plot of green-sward, seemingly preserved
    By nature's care from wreck of scattered stones,
    And from encroachment[322] of encircling heath:
    Small space! but, for reiterated steps,                      245
    Smooth and commodious; as a stately deck
    Which to and fro the mariner is used
    To tread for pastime, talking with his mates,
    Or haply thinking of far-distant friends,
    While the ship glides before a steady breeze.                250
    Stillness prevailed around us: and the voice
    That spake was capable to lift the soul
    Toward[323] regions yet more tranquil. But, methought,
    That he, whose fixed despondency had given
    Impulse and motive to that strong discourse,                 255
    Was less upraised in spirit than abashed;
    Shrinking from admonition, like a man
    Who feels that to exhort is to reproach.
    Yet not to be diverted from his aim,
    The Sage continued:--
                          "For that other loss,                  260
    The loss of confidence in social man,
    By the unexpected transports of our age
    Carried so high, that every thought, which looked
    Beyond the temporal destiny of the Kind,
    To many seemed superfluous--as, no cause                     265
    Could e'er for such exalted confidence[324]
    Exist; so, none is now for fixed[325] despair:
    The two extremes are equally disowned
    By reason: if, with sharp recoil, from one
    You have been driven far as its opposite,                    270
    Between them seek the point whereon to build
    Sound expectations. So doth he advise[326]
    Who shared at first the illusion; but was soon
    Cast from the pedestal of pride by shocks
    Which Nature gently gave, in woods and fields;               275
    Nor unreproved by Providence, thus speaking
    To the inattentive children of the world:
    'Vain-glorious Generation! what new powers
    On you have been conferred? what gifts, withheld
    From your progenitors, have ye received,                     280
    Fit recompense of new desert? what claim
    Are ye prepared to urge, that my decrees
    For you should undergo a sudden change;
    And the weak functions of one busy day,
    Reclaiming and extirpating, perform                          285
    What all the slowly-moving years of time,
    With their united force, have left undone?
    By nature's gradual processes be taught;
    By story be confounded! Ye aspire
    Rashly, to fall once more; and that false fruit,             290
    Which, to your over-weening spirits, yields
    Hope of a flight celestial, will produce[327]
    Misery and shame. But Wisdom of her sons
    Shall not the less, though late, be justified.'[EF]          294

       "Such timely warning," said the Wanderer, "gave
    That visionary voice; and, at this day,
    When a Tartarean darkness overspreads
    The groaning nations; when the impious rule,
    By will or by established ordinance,
    Their own dire agents, and constrain the good                300
    To acts which they abhor; though I bewail
    This triumph, yet the pity of my heart
    Prevents me not from owning, that the law,
    By which mankind now suffers, is most just.
    For by superior energies; more strict                        305
    Affiance in each other; faith more firm
    In their unhallowed principles; the bad
    Have fairly earned a victory o'er the weak,
    The vacillating, inconsistent good.
    Therefore, not unconsoled, I wait--in hope                   310
    To see the moment, when the righteous cause
    Shall gain defenders zealous and devout
    As they who have opposed her; in which Virtue
    Will, to her efforts, tolerate no bounds
    That are not lofty as her rights; aspiring                   315
    By impulse of her own ethereal zeal.
    That spirit only can redeem mankind;
    And when that sacred spirit shall appear,
    Then shall _our_ triumph be complete as theirs.
    Yet, should this confidence prove vain, the wise             320
    Have still the keeping of their proper peace;
    Are guardians of their own tranquillity.
    They act, or they recede, observe, and feel;
    'Knowing[328] the heart of man is set to be[EG]
    The centre of this world, about the which                    325
    Those revolutions of disturbances
    Still roll; where all the aspècts of misery
    Predominate; whose strong effects are such
    As he must bear, being powerless to redress;
    _And that unless above himself he can                        330
    Erect himself, how poor a thing is Man_!'[EH]

      "Happy is he who lives to understand,
    Not human nature only, but explores
    All natures,--to the end that he may find
    The law that governs each; and where begins                  335
    The union, the partition where, that makes
    Kind and degree, among all visible Beings;
    The constitutions, powers, and faculties,
    Which they inherit,--cannot step beyond,--
    And cannot fall beneath; that do assign                      340
    To every class its station and its office,
    Through all the mighty commonwealth of things
    Up from the creeping plant to sovereign Man.
    Such converse, if directed by a meek,
    Sincere, and humble spirit, teaches love:                    345
    For knowledge is delight; and such delight
    Breeds love: yet, suited as it rather is
    To thought and to the climbing intellect,
    It teaches less to love, than to adore;
    If that be not indeed the highest love!"                     350

      "Yet," said I, tempted here to interpose,
    "The dignity of life is not impaired
    By aught that innocently satisfies
    The humbler cravings of the heart; and he
    Is a still happier man, who, for those heights               355
    Of speculation not unfit, descends;
    And such benign affections cultivates
    Among the inferior kinds; not merely those
    That he may call his own, and which depend,
    As individual objects of regard,                             360
    Upon his care, from whom he also looks
    For signs and tokens of a mutual bond;
    But others, far beyond this narrow sphere,
    Whom, for the very sake of love, he loves.
    Nor is it a mean praise of rural life                        365
    And solitude, that they do favour most,
    Most frequently call forth, and best sustain,
    These pure sensations; that can penetrate
    The obstreperous city; on the barren seas
    Are not unfelt; and much might recommend,                    370
    How much they might inspirit and endear,
    The loneliness of this sublime retreat!"

      "Yes," said the Sage, resuming the discourse
    Again directed to his downcast Friend,
    "If, with the froward will and grovelling soul               375
    Of man, offended, liberty is here,
    And invitation every hour renewed,
    To mark _their_ placid state, who never heard
    Of a command which they have power to break,
    Or rule which they are tempted to transgress:                380
    These, with a soothed or elevated heart,
    May we behold; their knowledge register;
    Observe their ways; and, free from envy, find
    Complacence there:--but wherefore this to you?
    I guess that, welcome to your lonely hearth,                 385
    The redbreast, ruffled up by winter's cold
    Into a 'feathery bunch,' feeds at your hand:[329]
    A box, perchance, is from your casement hung
    For the small wren to build in;--not in vain,
    The barriers disregarding that surround                      390
    This deep abiding place, before your sight
    Mounts on the breeze the butterfly; and soars,
    Small creature as she is, from earth's bright flowers,
    Into the dewy clouds. Ambition reigns
    In the waste wilderness: the Soul ascends                    395
    Drawn towards her native firmament of heaven,[330]
    When the fresh eagle, in the month of May,
    Upborne, at evening, on replenished wing,
    This shaded valley leaves;[331][EI] and leaves the dark
    Empurpled hills, conspicuously renewing                      400
    A proud communication with the sun
    Low sunk beneath the horizon!--List!--I heard,
    From yon huge breast of rock, a voice sent forth[332]
    As if the visible mountain made the cry.
    Again!"--The effect upon the soul was such                   405
    As he expressed: from out the mountain's heart
    The solemn voice appeared to issue, startling
    The blank air--for the region all around
    Stood empty of all shape of life, and silent
    Save for that single cry, the unanswer'd bleat               410
    Of a poor lamb--left somewhere to itself,[333]
    The plaintive spirit of the solitude![EJ]
    He paused, as if unwilling to proceed,
    Through consciousness that silence in such place
    Was best, the most affecting eloquence.                      415
    But soon his thoughts returned upon themselves,
    And, in soft tone of speech, thus he[334] resumed.

      "Ah! if the heart, too confidently raised,
    Perchance too lightly occupied, or lulled
    Too easily, despise or overlook                              420
    The vassalage that binds her to the earth,
    Her sad dependence upon time, and all
    The trepidations of mortality,
    What place so destitute and void--but there
    The little flower her vanity shall check;                    425
    The trailing worm reprove her thoughtless pride?

      "These craggy regions, these chaotic wilds,
    Does that benignity pervade, that warms
    The mole contented with her darksome walk
    In the cold ground; and to the emmet gives                   430
    Her foresight, and intelligence[335] that makes
    The tiny creatures strong by social league;
    Supports the generations, multiplies
    Their tribes, till we behold a spacious plain
    Or grassy bottom, all, with little hills--                   435
    Their labour, covered, as a lake with waves;[EK]
    Thousands of cities, in the desert place
    Built up of life, and food, and means of life!
    Nor wanting here, to entertain the thought,
    Creatures that in communities exist,                         440
    Less, as might seem, for general guardianship
    Or through dependence upon mutual aid,
    Than by participation of delight
    And a strict love of fellowship, combined.
    What other spirit can it be that prompts                     445
    The gilded summer flies to mix and weave
    Their sports together in the solar beam,
    Or in the gloom of twilight hum their joy?
    More obviously the self-same influence rules                 449
    The feathered kinds; the fieldfare's pensive flock,[336][EL]
    The cawing rooks, and sea-mews from afar,
    Hovering above these inland solitudes,
    By the rough wind unscattered, at whose call
    Up through the trenches of the long-drawn vales
    Their voyage was begun:[337] nor is its power                455
    Unfelt among the sedentary fowl
    That seek yon pool,[EM] and there prolong their stay
    In silent congress; or together roused
    Take flight; while with their clang the air resounds.
    And, over all, in that ethereal vault,[338]                  460
    Is the mute company of changeful clouds;
    Bright apparition, suddenly put forth,
    The rainbow smiling on the faded storm;
    The mild assemblage of the starry heavens;
    And the great sun, earth's universal lord!                   465

      "How bountiful is Nature! he shall find
    Who seeks not; and to him, who hath not asked,
    Large measure shall be dealt. Three sabbath-days
    Are scarcely told, since, on a service bent
    Of mere humanity, you clomb those heights;                   470
    And what a marvellous and heavenly show
    Was suddenly revealed![339]--the swains moved on,
    And heeded not: you lingered, you perceived
    And felt, deeply as living man could feel.
    There is a luxury[340] in self-dispraise;                    475
    And inward self-disparagement affords
    To meditative spleen a grateful feast.
    Trust me, pronouncing on your own desert,
    You judge unthankfully: distempered nerves
    Infect the thoughts: the languor of the frame                480
    Depresses the soul's vigour. Quit your couch--
    Cleave not so fondly to your moody cell;
    Nor let the hallowed powers, that shed from heaven
    Stillness and rest, with disapproving eye
    Look down upon your taper, through a watch                   485
    Of midnight hours, unseasonably twinkling
    In this deep Hollow, like a sullen star
    Dimly reflected in a lonely pool.
    Take courage, and withdraw yourself from ways
    That run not parallel to nature's course.                    490
    Rise with the lark! your matins shall obtain
    Grace, be their composition what it may,
    If but with hers performed;[EN] climb once again,
    Climb every day, those ramparts;[EO] meet the breeze
    Upon their tops, adventurous as a bee                        495
    That from your garden thither soars, to feed
    On new-blown heath; let yon commanding rock
    Be your frequented watch-tower; roll the stone
    In thunder down the mountains; with all your might
    Chase the wild goat; and if the bold red deer                500
    Fly to those[341] harbours, driven by hound and horn
    Loud echoing, add your speed to the pursuit;
    So, wearied to your hut shall you return,
    And sink at evening into sound repose."

      The Solitary lifted toward[342] the hills                  505
    A kindling eye:--accordant feelings rushed
    Into my bosom, whence these words broke forth:[343]
    "Oh! what a joy it were, in vigorous health,
    To have a body (this our vital frame
    With shrinking sensibility endued,                           510
    And all the nice regards of flesh and blood)
    And to the elements surrender it
    As if it were a spirit!--How divine,
    The liberty, for frail, for mortal, man
    To roam at large among unpeopled glens                       515
    And mountainous retirements, only trod
    By devious footsteps; regions consecrate
    To oldest time! and, reckless of the storm
    That keeps the raven quiet in her nest,
    Be as a presence or a motion--one                            520
    Among the many there; and while the mists
    Flying, and rainy vapours, call out shapes
    And phantoms from the crags and solid earth
    As fast as a musician scatters sounds
    Out of an instrument; and while the streams                  525
    (As at a first creation and in haste
    To exercise their untried faculties)
    Descending from the region of the clouds,
    And starting from the hollows of the earth
    More multitudinous every moment, rend                        530
    Their way before them--what a joy to roam
    An equal among mightiest energies;
    And haply sometimes with articulate voice,
    Amid the deafening tumult, scarcely heard
    By him that utters it, exclaim aloud,                        535
    'Rage on ye elements! let moon and stars
    Their aspects lend, and mingle in their turn
    With this commotion (ruinous though it be)
    From day to night, from night to day, prolonged!'"[344]

      "Yes," said the Wanderer, taking from my lips              540
    The strain of transport, "whosoe'er in youth
    Has, through ambition of his soul, given way
    To such desires, and grasped at such delight,
    Shall feel congenial stirrings late and long,[345]
    In spite of all the weakness that life brings,               545
    Its cares and sorrows; he, though taught to own
    The tranquillizing power of time, shall wake,
    Wake sometimes to a noble restlessness--
    Loving the sports[346] which once he gloried in.

      "Compatriot, Friend, remote are Garry's hills,             550
    The streams far distant of your native glen;
    Yet is their form and image here expressed
    With brotherly resemblance.[347] Turn your steps
    Wherever fancy leads; by day, by night,
    Are various engines working, not the same                    555
    As those with[348] which your soul in youth was moved,
    But by the great Artificer endowed[349]
    With no inferior power. You dwell alone;
    You walk, you live, you speculate alone;
    Yet doth remembrance, like a sovereign prince,               560
    For you a stately gallery maintain
    Of gay or tragic pictures. You have seen,
    Have acted, suffered, travelled far, observed
    With no incurious eye; and books are yours,
    Within whose silent chambers treasure lies                   565
    Preserved from age to age; more precious far
    Than that accumulated store of gold
    And orient gems, which, for a day of need,
    The Sultan hides deep in[350] ancestral tombs.
    These hoards of truth you can unlock at will:                570
    And music waits upon your skilful touch,
    Sounds which the wandering shepherd from these heights
    Hears, and forgets his purpose;--furnished thus,
    How can you droop, if willing to be upraised?[351]

      "A piteous lot it were to flee from Man--                  575
    Yet not rejoice in Nature. He, whose hours
    Are by domestic pleasures uncaressed
    And unenlivened; who exists whole years
    Apart from benefits received or done
    'Mid the transactions of the bustling crowd;                 580
    Who neither hears, nor feels a wish to hear,
    Of the world's interests--such a one hath need
    Of a quick fancy and an active heart,
    That, for the day's consumption, books may yield
    Food not unwholesome; earth and air correct                  585
    His morbid humour, with delight supplied
    Or solace, varying as the seasons change.[352]
    --Truth has her pleasure-grounds, her haunts of ease
    And easy contemplation; gay parterres,
    And labyrinthine walks, her sunny glades                     590
    And shady groves in studied contrast--each,
    For recreation, leading into each:[353]
    These may he range, if willing to partake
    Their soft indulgences, and in due time
    May issue thence, recruited for the tasks                    595
    And course of service Truth requires from those
    Who tend her altars, wait upon her throne,
    And guard her fortresses. Who thinks, and feels,
    And recognises ever and anon
    The breeze of nature stirring in his soul,                   600
    Why need such man go desperately astray,
    And nurse 'the dreadful appetite of death?'
    If tired with systems, each in its degree
    Substantial, and all crumbling in their turn,
    Let him build systems of his own, and smile                  605
    At the fond work, demolished with a touch;
    If unreligious, let him be at once,
    Among ten thousand innocents, enrolled
    A pupil in the many-chambered school,
    Where superstition weaves her airy dreams.                   610

      "Life's autumn past, I stand on winter's verge;
    And daily lose what I desire to keep:
    Yet rather would I instantly decline
    To the traditionary sympathies
    Of a most rustic ignorance, and take                         615
    A fearful apprehension from the owl
    Or death-watch: and as readily rejoice,
    If two auspicious magpies crossed my way;--
    To this would rather bend[354] than see and hear
    The repetitions wearisome of sense,                          620
    Where soul is dead, and feeling hath no place;
    Where knowledge, ill begun in cold remark
    On outward things, with formal inference ends;
    Or, if the mind turn inward, she recoils
    At once--or, not recoiling, is perplexed--                   625
    Lost in a gloom of uninspired research;[355]
    Meanwhile, the heart within the heart, the seat
    Where peace and happy consciousness should dwell,
    On its own axis restlessly revolving,
    Seeks, yet can nowhere find, the light of truth.[356][EQ]    630

      "Upon the breast of new-created earth
    Man walked; and when and wheresoe'er he moved,
    Alone or mated, solitude was not.
    He heard, borne on the wind,[357] the articulate voice
    Of God;[ER] and Angels to his sight appeared                 635
    Crowning the glorious hills of paradise;
    Or through the groves gliding like morning mist
    Enkindled by the sun. He sate--and talked
    With winged Messengers;[ES] who daily brought
    To his small island in the ethereal deep                     640
    Tidings of joy and love.--From those pure heights[358]
    (Whether of actual vision, sensible
    To sight and feeling, or that in this sort
    Have condescendingly been shadowed forth
    Communications spiritually maintained,                       645
    And intuitions moral and divine)
    Fell Human-kind--to banishment condemned[ET]
    That flowing years repealed not: and distress
    And grief spread wide;[EU] but Man escaped the doom
    Of destitution;--solitude was not.                           650
    --Jehovah[EV]--shapeless Power above all Powers,
    Single and one, the omnipresent God,
    By vocal utterance, or blaze of light,
    Or cloud of darkness, localised in heaven;[EW]
    On earth, enshrined within the wandering ark;[EX]            655
    Or, out of Sion, thundering from his throne
    Between the Cherubim[EY]--on the chosen Race
    Showered miracles,[EZ] and ceased not to dispense
    Judgments, that filled the land from age to age
    With hope, and love, and gratitude, and fear;[FA]            660
    And with amazement smote;--thereby to assert
    His scorned, or unacknowledged, sovereignty.
    And when the One, ineffable of name,
    Of[359] nature indivisible, withdrew
    From mortal adoration or regard,                             665
    Not then was Deity engulfed; nor Man,
    The rational creature, left, to feel the weight
    Of his own reason, without sense or thought
    Of higher reason and a purer will,
    To benefit and bless, through mightier power:--              670
    Whether the Persian--zealous to reject
    Altar and image, and the inclusive walls
    And roofs of temples built by human hands--[FB]
    To[360] loftiest heights ascending, from their tops,
    With myrtle-wreathed tiara on his brow,[361]                 675
    Presented sacrifice to moon and stars,
    And to the winds and mother elements,
    And the whole circle of the heavens, for him
    A sensitive existence, and a God,[FC]
    With lifted hands invoked, and songs of praise:              680
    Or, less reluctantly to bonds of sense
    Yielding his soul, the Babylonian framed
    For influence undefined a personal shape;
    And, from the plain, with toil immense, upreared
    Tower eight times planted on the top of tower,               685
    That Belus, nightly to his splendid couch
    Descending, there might rest;[FD] upon that height
    Pure and serene, diffused--to overlook[362]
    Winding Euphrates, and the city vast
    Of his devoted worshippers, far-stretched,                   690
    With grove and field and garden interspersed;
    Their town, and foodful region for support
    Against the pressure of beleaguering war.

      "Chaldean Shepherds, ranging trackless fields,
    Beneath the concave of unclouded skies                       695
    Spread like a sea, in boundless solitude,
    Looked on the polar star, as on a guide
    And guardian of their course, that never closed
    His stedfast eye. The planetary Five[FE]
    With a submissive reverence they beheld;                     700
    Watched, from the centre of their sleeping flocks,
    Those radiant Mercuries,[FF] that seemed to move
    Carrying through ether, in perpetual round,
    Decrees and resolutions of the Gods;
    And, by their aspects, signifying works                      705
    Of dim futurity, to Man revealed.
    --The imaginative faculty was lord
    Of observations natural; and, thus
    Led on, those shepherds made report of stars
    In set rotation passing to and fro,                          710
    Between the orbs of our apparent sphere
    And its invisible counterpart, adorned
    With answering constellations, under earth,
    Removed from all approach of living sight
    But present to the dead; who, so they deemed,                715
    Like those celestial messengers beheld
    All accidents, and judges were of all.

      "The lively Grecian, in a land of hills,
    Rivers and fertile plains, and sounding shores,--[FG]
    Under a cope of sky more variable,[363]                      720
    Could find commodious place for every God,
    Promptly received, as prodigally brought,
    From the surrounding countries, at the choice
    Of all adventurers. With unrivalled skill,
    As nicest observation furnished hints                        725
    For studious fancy, his quick hand bestowed[364]
    On fluent operations a fixed shape;
    Metal or stone, idolatrously served.
    And yet--triumphant o'er this pompous show
    Of art, this palpable array of sense,                        730
    On every side encountered; in despite
    Of the gross fictions chanted in the streets
    By wandering Rhapsodists;[FH] and in contempt
    Of doubt and bold denial[365] hourly urged
    Amid the wrangling schools--a SPIRIT hung,                   735
    Beautiful region! o'er thy towns and farms,
    Statues and temples, and memorial tombs;
    And emanations were perceived; and acts
    Of immortality, in Nature's course,
    Exemplified by mysteries, that were felt                     740
    As bonds, on grave philosopher imposed
    And armed warrior; and in every grove
    A gay or pensive tenderness prevailed,
    When piety more awful had relaxed.                           744
    --'Take, running river, take these locks of mine'--
    Thus would the Votary say--'this severed hair,
    'My vow fulfilling, do I here present,
    'Thankful for my beloved child's return.
    'Thy banks, Cephisus, he again hath trod,[FI]                749
    'Thy murmurs heard; and drunk the crystal lymph
    'With which thou dost refresh the thirsty lip,
    'And, all day long, moisten[366] these flowery fields!'
    And, doubtless, sometimes, when the hair was shed
    Upon the flowing stream, a thought arose
    Of Life continuous, Being unimpaired;                        755
    That hath been, is, and where it was and is
    There shall endure,--existence unexposed[367]
    To the blind walk of mortal accident;
    From diminution safe and weakening age;
    While man grows old, and dwindles, and decays;               760
    And countless generations of mankind
    Depart; and leave no vestige where they trod.

      "We live by Admiration, Hope, and Love;
    And, even as these are well and wisely fixed,
    In dignity of being we ascend.                               765
    But what is error?"--"Answer he who can!"
    The Sceptic somewhat haughtily exclaimed:
    "Love, Hope, and Admiration--are they not
    Mad Fancy's favourite vassals? Does not life
    Use them, full oft, as pioneers to ruin,                     770
    Guides to destruction? Is it well to trust
    Imagination's light when reason's fails,
    The unguarded taper where the guarded faints?
    --Stoop from those heights, and soberly declare
    What error is; and, of our errors, which                     775
    Doth most debase the mind; the genuine seats
    Of power, where are they? Who shall regulate,
    With truth, the scale of intellectual rank?"

      "Methinks," persuasively the Sage replied,
    "That for this arduous office you possess                    780
    Some rare advantages. Your early days
    A grateful recollection must supply
    Of much exalted good by Heaven vouchsafed
    To dignify the humblest state.[368]--Your voice
    Hath, in my hearing, often testified                         785
    That poor men's children, they, and they alone,
    By their condition taught, can understand
    The wisdom of the prayer that daily asks
    For daily bread. A consciousness is yours
    How feelingly religion may be learned                        790
    In smoky cabins, from a mother's tongue--
    Heard while the dwelling vibrates to the din
    Of the contiguous torrent, gathering strength
    At every moment--and, with strength, increase
    Of fury; or, while snow is at the door,                      795
    Assaulting and defending, and the wind,
    A sightless labourer, whistles at his work--
    Fearful; but resignation tempers fear,
    And piety is sweet to infant minds.                          799
    --The Shepherd-lad, that[369] in the sunshine carves,
    On the green turf, a dial[FJ]--to divide
    The silent hours; and who to that report
    Can portion out his pleasures, and adapt,
    Throughout a long and lonely summer's day
    His round[370] of pastoral duties, is not left               805
    With less intelligence for _moral_ things
    Of gravest import. Early he perceives,
    Within himself, a measure and a rule,
    Which to the sun of truth he can apply,
    That shines for him, and shines for all mankind.             810
    Experience daily fixing his regards
    On nature's wants, he knows how few they are,
    And where they lie, how answered and appeased.
    This knowledge ample recompense affords
    For manifold privations; he refers                           815
    His notions to this standard; on this rock
    Rests his desires; and hence, in after life,
    Soul-strengthening patience, and sublime content.
    Imagination--not permitted here
    To waste her powers, as in the worldling's mind,             820
    On fickle pleasures, and superfluous cares,
    And trivial ostentation--is left free
    And puissant to range the solemn walks
    Of time and nature, girded by a zone
    That, while it binds, invigorates and supports.              825
    Acknowledge, then, that whether by the side
    Of his poor hut, or on the mountain top,
    Or in the cultured field, a Man so bred[371]
    (Take from him what you will upon the score
    Of ignorance or illusion) lives and breathes                 830
    For noble purposes of mind: his heart
    Beats to the heroic song of ancient days;
    His eye distinguishes, his soul creates,
    And those illusions, which excite the scorn
    Or move the pity of unthinking minds,                        835
    Are they not mainly outward ministers
    Of inward conscience? with whose service charged
    They came and go, appeared and disappear,[372]
    Diverting evil purposes, remorse
    Awakening, chastening an intemperate grief,                  840
    Or pride of heart abating: and, whene'er
    For less important ends those phantoms move,
    Who would forbid them, if their presence serve,
    On thinly-peopled mountains and wild heaths,[373]
    Filling a space, else vacant, to exalt                       845
    The forms of Nature, and enlarge her powers?

      "Once more to distant ages of the world
    Let us revert, and place before our thoughts
    The face which rural solitude might wear
    To the unenlightened swains of pagan Greece.[374]            850
    --In that fair clime, the lonely herdsman, stretched
    On the soft grass through half a summer's day,
    With music lulled his indolent repose:
    And, in some fit of weariness, if he,
    When his own breath was silent, chanced to hear              855
    A distant strain, far sweeter than the sounds
    Which his poor skill could make, his fancy fetched,
    Even from the blazing chariot of the sun,
    A beardless Youth, who touched a golden lute,[FK]
    And filled the illumined groves with ravishment.             860
    The nightly hunter, lifting a bright eye
    Up towards the crescent moon,[375] with grateful heart
    Called on the lovely wanderer who bestowed
    That timely light, to share his joyous sport:[376]
    And hence, a beaming Goddess with her Nymphs,[FL]            865
    Across the lawn and through the darksome grove,
    Not unaccompanied with tuneful notes
    By echo multiplied from rock or cave,
    Swept in the storm of chase; as moon and stars
    Glance rapidly along the clouded heaven,[377]                870
    When winds are blowing strong. The traveller slaked
    His thirst from rill or gushing fount, and thanked
    The Naiad.[FM] Sunbeams, upon distant hills
    Gliding apace, with shadows in their train,
    Might, with small help from fancy, be transformed            875
    Into fleet Oreads[FM] sporting visibly.
    The Zephyrs[FM] fanning, as they passed, their wings,
    Lacked not, for love, fair objects whom they wooed
    With gentle whisper. Withered boughs grotesque,
    Stripped of their leaves and twigs by hoary age,             880
    From depth of shaggy covert peeping forth
    In the low vale, or on steep mountain side;
    And, sometimes, intermixed with stirring horns
    Of the live deer, or goat's depending beard,--
    These were the lurking Satyrs,[FM] a wild brood              885
    Of gamesome Deities; or Pan himself,
    The simple shepherd's awe-inspiring God!"

      The strain was aptly chosen; and I could mark[378]
    Its kindly influence, o'er[379] the yielding brow
    Of our Companion, gradually diffused;                        890
    While, listening, he had paced the noiseless turf,
    Like one whose untired ear a murmuring stream
    Detains; but tempted now to interpose,
    He with a smile exclaimed:--

                                "'Tis well you speak
    At a safe distance from our native land,                     895
    And from the mansions where our youth was taught.
    The true descendants of those godly men
    Who swept from Scotland, in a flame of zeal,
    Shrine, altar, image, and the massy piles
    That harboured them,--the souls retaining yet                900
    The churlish features of that after-race
    Who fled to woods, caverns, and jutting rocks,[380]
    In deadly scorn of superstitious rites,
    Or what their scruples construed to be such--
    How, think you, would they tolerate this scheme              905
    Of fine propensities, that tends, if urged
    Far as it might be urged, to sow afresh
    The weeds of Romish phantasy, in vain
    Uprooted; would re-consecrate our wells
    To good Saint Fillan[FN] and to fair Saint Anne;             910
    And from long banishment recal Saint Giles,[FO]
    To watch again with tutelary love
    O'er stately Edinborough throned on crags?
    A blessed restoration,[FP] to behold
    The patron, on the shoulders of his priests,                 915
    Once more parading through her crowded streets
    Now simply guarded by the sober powers
    Of science, and philosophy, and sense!"

      This answer followed.--"You have turned my thoughts
    Upon our brave Progenitors, who rose                         920
    Against idolatry with warlike mind,
    And shrunk from vain observances, to lurk
    In woods, and dwell under impending rocks
    Ill-sheltered, and oft wanting fire and food;[381]
    Why?--for this very reason that they felt,                   925
    And did acknowledge, wheresoe'er they moved,
    A spiritual presence, oft-times misconceived,
    But still a high dependence, a divine
    Bounty and government, that filled their hearts
    With joy, and gratitude, and fear, and love;                 930
    And from their fervent lips drew hymns of praise,
    That through the desert rang.[382] Though favoured less,
    Far less, than these, yet such, in their degree,
    Were those bewildered Pagans of old time.
    Beyond their own poor natures and above                      935
    They looked; were humbly thankful for the good
    Which the warm sun solicited, and earth
    Bestowed; were gladsome,--and their moral sense
    They fortified with reverence for the Gods;
    And they had hopes that overstepped the Grave.               940

      "Now, shall our great Discoverers," he exclaimed,
    Raising his voice triumphantly, "obtain
    From sense and reason less than these obtained,
    Though far misled? Shall men for whom our age
    Unbaffled powers of vision hath prepared,                    945
    To explore the world without and world within,
    Be joyless as the blind? Ambitious spirits--[383]
    Whom earth, at this late season, hath produced
    To regulate the moving spheres, and weigh
    The planets in the hollow of their hand;                     950
    And they who rather dive than soar, whose pains
    Have solved the elements, or analysed
    The thinking principle--shall they in fact
    Prove a degraded Race? and what avails
    Renown, if their presumption make them such?                 955
    Oh! there is laughter at their work in heaven!
    Inquire of ancient Wisdom; go, demand
    Of mighty Nature, if 'twas ever meant
    That we should pry far off yet be unraised;
    That we should pore, and dwindle as we pore,                 960
    Viewing all objects unremittingly
    In disconnexion dead and spiritless;
    And still dividing, and dividing still,
    Break down all grandeur, still unsatisfied
    With the perverse attempt, while littleness                  965
    May yet become more little; waging thus
    An impious warfare with the very life
    Of our own souls!
                      "And if indeed there be
    An all-pervading Spirit, upon whom
    Our dark foundations rest, could he design                   970
    That this[384] magnificent effect of power,
    The earth we tread, the sky that[385] we behold
    By day, and all the pomp which night reveals;
    That these--and that superior mystery
    Our vital frame, so fearfully devised,                       975
    And the dread soul within it--should exist
    Only to be examined, pondered, searched,
    Probed, vexed, and criticised?[FR]--Accuse me not
    Of arrogance, unknown Wanderer as I am,
    If, having walked with Nature threescore years,              980
    And offered, far as frailty would allow,
    My heart a daily sacrifice to Truth,
    I now affirm of Nature and of Truth,
    Whom I have served, that their DIVINITY
    Revolts, offended at the ways of men                         985
    Swayed by such motives, to such ends[386] employed;
    Philosophers, who, though the human soul
    Be[387] of a thousand faculties composed,
    And twice ten thousand interests, do yet prize
    This soul, and the transcendent universe,                    990
    No more than as a mirror that reflects
    To proud Self-love her own intelligence;
    That one, poor, finite object, in the abyss
    Of infinite Being, twinkling restlessly!

      "Nor higher place can be assigned to him                   995
    And his compeers--the laughing Sage of France.--[FS]
    Crowned was he, if my memory do[388] not err,
    With laurel planted upon hoary hairs,
    In sign of conquest by his wit achieved
    And benefits his wisdom had conferred;                      1000
    His stooping body tottered with wreaths of flowers[FT]
    Opprest, far less becoming ornaments
    Than Spring oft twines about a mouldering tree;[389]
    Yet so it pleased a fond, a vain, old Man,
    And a most frivolous people. Him I mean                     1005
    Who penned,[390] to ridicule confiding faith,
    This sorry Legend; which by chance we found
    Piled in a nook, through malice, as might seem,
    Among more innocent rubbish."--Speaking thus,
    With a brief notice when, and how, and where,               1010
    We had espied the book, he drew it forth;
    And courteously, as if the act removed,
    At once, all traces from the good Man's heart
    Of unbenign aversion or contempt,
    Restored it to its owner. "Gentle Friend,"                  1015
    Herewith he grasped the Solitary's hand,
    "You have known lights and guides better than these.[391]
    Ah! let not aught amiss within dispose
    A noble mind to practise on herself,
    And tempt opinion to support the wrongs                     1020
    Of passion: whatsoe'er be[392] felt or feared,
    From higher judgment-seats make no appeal
    To lower: can you question that the soul
    Inherits an allegiance, not by choice
    To be cast off, upon an oath proposed                       1025
    By each new upstart notion? In the ports
    Of levity no refuge can be found,
    No shelter, for a spirit in distress.
    He, who by wilful disesteem of life
    And proud insensibility to hope,                            1030
    Affronts the eye of Solitude, shall learn
    That her mild nature can be terrible;
    That neither she nor Silence lack the power
    To avenge their own insulted majesty.

      "O blest seclusion! when the mind admits                  1035
    The law of duty; and can therefore move[393]
    Through each vicissitude of loss and gain,
    Linked in entire complacence with her choice;
    When youth's presumptuousness is mellowed down,
    And manhood's vain anxiety dismissed;                       1040
    When wisdom shows her seasonable fruit,
    Upon the boughs of sheltering leisure hung
    In sober plenty; when the spirit stoops
    To drink with gratitude the crystal stream
    Of unreproved enjoyment; and is pleased                     1045
    To muse, and be saluted by the air
    Of meek repentance, wafting wall-flower scents
    From out the crumbling ruins of fallen pride
    And chambers of transgression, now forlorn.
    O, calm contented days, and peaceful nights!                1050
    Who, when such good can be obtained, would strive
    To reconcile his manhood to a couch
    Soft, as may seem, but, under that disguise,
    Stuffed with the thorny substance of the past
    For fixed annoyance; and full oft beset                     1055
    With floating dreams, black and disconsolate,[394]
    The vapoury phantoms of futurity?

      "Within the soul a faculty abides,
    That with interpositions, which would hide
    And darken, so can deal that they become                    1060
    Contingencies of pomp; and serve to exalt
    Her native brightness. As the ample moon,
    In the deep stillness of a summer even
    Rising behind a thick and lofty grove,
    Burns, like an unconsuming fire of light,                   1065
    In the green trees; and, kindling on all sides
    Their leafy umbrage, turns the dusky veil
    Into a substance glorious as her own,
    Yea, with her own incorporated, by power
    Capacious and serene. Like power abides                     1070
    In man's celestial spirit; virtue thus
    Sets forth and magnifies herself; thus feeds
    A calm, a beautiful, and silent fire,
    From the encumbrances of mortal life,
    From error, disappointment--nay, from guilt;                1075
    And sometimes, so relenting justice wills,
    From palpable oppressions of despair."

      The Solitary by these words was touched
    With manifest emotion, and exclaimed;
    "But how begin? and whence?--'The Mind is free--
    Resolve,' the haughty Moralist would say,                   1081
    'This single act is all that we demand.'
    Alas! such wisdom bids a creature fly
    Whose very sorrow is, that time hath shorn
    His natural wings!--To friendship let him turn              1085
    For succour; but perhaps he sits alone
    On stormy waters, tossed in a little boat[395]
    That holds but him, and can contain no more!
    Religion tells of amity sublime
    Which no condition can preclude; of One                     1090
    Who sees all suffering, comprehends all wants,
    All weakness fathoms, can supply all needs:
    But is that bounty absolute?--His gifts,
    Are they not, still, in some degree, rewards
    For acts of service? Can his love extend                    1095
    To hearts that own not him? Will showers of grace,
    When in the sky no promise may be seen,
    Fall to refresh a parched and withered land?
    Or shall the groaning Spirit cast her load
    At the Redeemer's feet?"
                              In rueful tone,                   1100
    With some impatience in his mien, he spake:
    Back to my mind rushed all that had been urged
    To calm the Sufferer when his story closed;
    I looked for counsel as unbending now;
    But a discriminating sympathy                               1105
    Stooped to this apt reply:--[396]
                                    "As men from men
    Do, in the constitution of their souls,
    Differ, by mystery not to be explained;
    And as we fall by various ways, and sink
    One deeper than another, self-condemned,                    1110
    Through manifold degrees of guilt and shame;
    So manifold and various are the ways
    Of restoration, fashioned to the steps
    Of all infirmity, and tending all
    To the same point, attainable by all--                      1115
    Peace in ourselves, and union with our God.
    For you, assuredly, a hopeful road[397]
    Lies open: we have heard from you a voice
    At every moment softened in its course
    By tenderness of heart; have seen your eye,                 1120
    Even like an altar lit by fire from heaven,
    Kindle before us.--Your discourse this day,
    That, like the fabled Lethe, wished to flow
    In creeping sadness, through oblivious shades
    Of death and night, has caught at every turn                1125
    The colours of the sun. Access for you
    Is yet preserved to principles of truth,
    Which the imaginative Will upholds
    In seats of wisdom, not to be approached
    By the inferior Faculty that moulds,                        1130
    With her minute and speculative pains,
    Opinion, ever changing!
                             "I have seen
    A curious child, who dwelt upon a tract
    Of inland ground, applying to his ear
    The convolutions of a smooth-lipped shell;                  1135
    To which, in silence hushed,[398] his very soul
    Listened intensely; and his countenance soon
    Brightened with joy; for from within were heard
    Murmurings, whereby the monitor expressed[399]
    Mysterious union with its native sea.                       1140
    Even such a shell[FU] the universe itself
    Is to the ear of Faith; and there are times,
    I doubt not, when to you it doth impart
    Authentic tidings of invisible things;
    Of ebb and flow, and ever-during power;                     1145
    And central peace, subsisting at the heart
    Of endless agitation. Here you stand,
    Adore, and worship, when you know it not;
    Pious beyond the intention of your thought;
    Devout above the meaning of your will.                      1150
    --Yes, you have felt, and may not cease to feel.
    The estate of man would be indeed forlorn
    If false conclusions of the reasoning power
    Made the eye blind, and closed the passages                 1154
    Through which the ear converses with the heart.
    Has not the soul, the being of your life,
    Received a shock of awful consciousness,
    In some calm season, when these lofty rocks
    At night's approach bring down the unclouded sky,
    To rest upon their circumambient walls;                     1160
    A temple framing of dimensions vast,
    And yet not too enormous for the sound
    Of human anthems,--choral song, or burst
    Sublime of instrumental harmony,
    To glorify the Eternal! What if these                       1165
    Did never break the stillness that prevails
    Here,--if the solemn nightingale[FV] be mute,
    And the soft woodlark here did never chant
    Her vespers,[FW]--Nature fails not to provide
    Impulse and utterance. The whispering air                   1170
    Sends inspiration from the shadowy heights,
    And blind recesses of the caverned rocks;
    The little rills, and waters numberless,
    Inaudible by daylight, blend their notes
    With the loud streams: and often, at the hour               1175
    When issue forth the first pale stars, is heard,
    Within the circuit of this fabric huge,
    One voice--the solitary raven, flying
    Athwart the concave of the dark blue dome,
    Unseen, perchance above all[400] power of sight--           1180
    An iron knell! with echoes from afar
    Faint--and still fainter--as the cry, with which
    The wanderer accompanies her flight
    Through the calm region, fades upon the ear,
    Diminishing by distance till it seemed                      1185
    To expire; yet from the abyss is caught again,
    And yet again recovered![FX]
                                "But descending
    From these imaginative heights, that yield
    Far-stretching views into eternity,
    Acknowledge that to Nature's humbler power                  1190
    Your cherished sullenness is forced to bend
    Even here, where her amenities are sown
    With sparing hand. Then trust yourself abroad
    To range her blooming bowers, and spacious fields,
    Where on the labours of the happy throng                    1195
    She smiles, including in her wide embrace
    City, and town, and tower,--and sea with ships
    Sprinkled;--be our Companion while we track
    Her rivers populous with gliding life;                      1199
    While, free as air, o'er printless sands we march,
    Or[401] pierce the gloom of her majestic woods;
    Roaming, or resting under grateful shade
    In peace and meditative cheerfulness;
    Where living things, and things inanimate,                  1204
    Do speak, at Heaven's command, to eye and ear,
    And speak to social reason's inner sense,
    With inarticulate language.
                                "For, the Man--
    Who, in this spirit, communes with the Forms
    Of nature, who with understanding heart
    Both knows and loves[402] such objects as excite            1210
    No morbid passions, no disquietude,
    No vengeance, and no hatred--needs must feel
    The joy of that pure principle of love
    So deeply, that, unsatisfied with aught
    Less pure and exquisite, he cannot choose                   1215
    But seek for objects of a kindred love
    In fellow-natures and a kindred joy.
    Accordingly he by degrees perceives
    His feelings of aversion softened down;
    A holy tenderness pervade his frame.                        1220
    His sanity of reason not impaired,
    Say rather, all his thoughts now flowing clear,
    From a clear fountain flowing, he looks round
    And seeks for good; and finds the good he seeks:
    Until abhorrence and contempt are things                    1225
    He only knows by name; and, if he hear,
    From other mouths, the language which they speak,
    He is compassionate; and has no thought,
    No feeling, which can overcome his love.

      "And further; by contemplating these Forms                1230
    In the relations which they bear to man,
    He shall discern, how, through the various means
    Which silently they yield, are multiplied
    The spiritual presences of absent things.
    Trust me,[403] that for the instructed, time will come      1235
    When they shall meet no object but may teach
    Some acceptable lesson to their minds
    Of human suffering, or of human joy.
    So shall they learn, while all things speak of man,
    Their duties from all forms;[404] and general laws,         1240
    And local accidents, shall tend alike
    To rouse, to urge; and, with the will, confer
    The ability to spread the blessings wide
    Of true philanthropy. The light of love
    Not failing, perseverance from their steps                  1245
    Departing not, for them shall be confirmed[405]
    The glorious habit by which sense is made
    Subservient still to moral purposes,
    Auxiliar to divine. That change shall clothe
    The naked spirit, ceasing to deplore                        1250
    The burthen of existence. Science then
    Shall be a precious visitant; and then,
    And only then, be worthy of her name:
    For then her heart shall kindle; her dull eye,
    Dull and inanimate, no more shall hang                      1255
    Chained to its object in brute slavery;
    But taught with patient interest to watch
    The processes of things, and serve the cause
    Of order and distinctness, not for this
    Shall it forget that its most noble use,                    1260
    Its most illustrious province, must be found
    In furnishing clear guidance, a support
    Not treacherous, to the mind's _excursive_ power.
    --So build we up the Being that we are;
    Thus deeply drinking--in the soul of things,                1265
    We shall be wise perforce; and, while inspired
    By choice, and conscious that the Will is free,
    Shall move unswerving, even as if impelled[406]
    By strict necessity, along the path
    Of order and of good. Whate'er we see,                      1270
    Or feel, shall tend to quicken and refine;
    Shall fix, in calmer seats of moral strength,
    Earthly desires; and raise, to loftier heights
    Of divine love, our intellectual soul."[407]

      Here closed the Sage that eloquent harangue,              1275
    Poured forth with fervour in continuous stream,
    Such as, remote, 'mid savage wilderness,
    An Indian Chief discharges from his breast
    Into the hearing of assembled tribes,[408]
    In open circle seated round, and hushed                     1280
    As the unbreathing air, when not a leaf
    Stirs in the mighty woods.--So did he speak:
    The words he uttered shall not pass away
    Dispersed, like music that the wind takes up
    By snatches, and lets fall, to be forgotten;                1285
    No--they sank into me,[409] the bounteous gift
    Of one whom time and nature had made wise,
    Gracing his doctrine[410] with authority
    Which hostile spirits silently allow;
    Of one accustomed to desires that feed                      1290
    On fruitage gathered from the tree of life;
    To hopes on knowledge and experience built;
    Of one in whom persuasion and belief
    Had ripened into faith, and faith become
    A passionate intuition; whence the Soul,                    1295
    Though bound to earth by ties of pity and love,
    From all injurious servitude was free.

      The Sun, before his place of rest were reached,
    Had yet to travel far, but unto us,
    To us who stood low in that hollow dell,                    1300
    He had become invisible,--a pomp
    Leaving behind of yellow radiance spread
    Over[411] the mountain sides, in contrast bold
    With ample shadows, seemingly, no less                      1304
    Than those resplendent lights, his rich bequest;
    A dispensation of his evening power.
    --Adown the path that[412] from the glen had led
    The funeral train, the Shepherd and his Mate
    Were seen descending:--forth to greet them ran[413]
    Our little Page: the rustic pair approach;                  1310
    And in the Matron's countenance may be read
    Plain indication[414] that the words, which told
    How that neglected Pensioner was sent
    Before his time into a quiet grave,
    Had done to her humanity no wrong:                          1315
    But we are kindly welcomed--promptly served
    With ostentatious zeal.--Along the floor
    Of the small Cottage in the lonely Dell
    A grateful couch was spread for our repose;
    Where, in the guise of mountaineers, we lay,[415]           1320
    Stretched upon fragrant heath, and lulled by sound
    Of far-off torrents charming the still night,
    And, to tired limbs and over-busy thoughts,
    Inviting sleep and soft forgetfulness.[416]


[Footnote 284: 1827.

    _Wanderer's ejaculation to the supreme Being--_              1814.


    _Account of his own devotional feelings in youth involved
    in it--_     1814.

    _account of his own devotional feelings in youth involved_-- 1827.


    _Implores that he may retain in age the power to find
    repose among enduring and eternal things_--                  1814.

    _What he wishes for in age_--                                  MS.


    _What these latter are_--                                    1814.

[Footnote 285: 1836.

    _sorrow--but doubt or despondence not therefore to be inferred_-- 1814.

    _sorrow--doubt_                                              1827.


    _And proceeds to administer consolation to the Solitary_--   1814.

    _Consolation to the Solitary_--                              1827.

    _Consolation administered to the Solitary_--                   MS.

[Footnote 286: 1827.

    _How these are received--Wanderer resumes--and applies_      1814.

[Footnote 287: 1827.

    --_the disappointment of his expectations from_              1814.

[Footnote 288: 1827.

    _States the rational grounds_                                1814.

[Footnote 289: 1814.

    _hope--insists_                                              1827.

The text of 1836 returns to that of 1814.]

[Footnote 290: 1827.

    _to the great revolutions of the world_--                    1814.

[Footnote 291: 1827.

    _Rural life and Solitude particularly favourable to a_       1814.

[Footnote 292: 1827.

    _recommended for its influence on the affections and the
     imagination_--                                              1814.

[Footnote 293: 1827

    _and an active Communion_                                    1814.

[Footnote 294: 1827

    _a pitiable thing--If the elevated imagination cannot be
     exerted--try the humbler fancy--_                           1814.

[Footnote 295: 1827.

    _--this illustrated_                                         1814.

[Footnote 296: 1827.

    _Wanderer, in answer,_                                       1814.

[Footnote 297: 1827.

    _feeling on the mind in the humble ranks of society, in
     rural life especially--This illustrated_                    1814.

[Footnote 298: 1827.

    _Observation that these principles_                          1814.

[Footnote 299: 1845.

    _presumptive_                                                1814.

The text of 1847 reverts to that of 1814.]

[Footnote 300: 1827.

    _Philosophers, whom the Solitary appears to esteem--
    Recommends to him_                                           1814.

    _Recommends to the Solitary--_                                  MS.

[Footnote 301: 1827.

    _Solitary agitated, and asks how--_                          1814.

[Footnote 302: 1836.

    _Happy for us that the imagination and affections in our
    own despite mitigate the evils of that state of intellectual
    Slavery which the calculating understanding is so apt to
    produce--_                                                   1814.

    _is apt to_                                                    MS.

    _Happy that the imagination and the affections mitigate
    the evils of that intellectual slavery which the calculating
    understanding is apt to produce--_                           1827.

[Footnote 303: 1827.

    _How Nature is to be communed with--Wanderer concludes
    with a prospect of a_                                        1814.

[Footnote 304: 1827.

    _the affections, the understanding, and the reason--_        1814.

[Footnote 305: 1827.

    _Effect of the Wanderer's discourse--_                       1814.

[Footnote 306: 1845.

    And doubtless yielding ...                                   1814.

[Footnote 307: 1845.

    Such pity yet surviving, with firm voice,
    That did not falter though the heart was moved,              1814.

    Such pity yet surviving, with clear voice
    That falter'd not, albeit the heart was moved,               1836.

[Footnote 308: 1836.

    And, if they wither, ...                                     1814.

[Footnote 309: 1827.

    ... or ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 310: 1827.

    ... frame                                                    1814.

[Footnote 311: 1827.

    ... tow'rds the Deep                                         1814.

[Footnote 312: 1827.

    ... and to aspire                                            1814.

[Footnote 313: 1836.

    ... it be just and meet,
    Through this, 'tis able to maintain its hold,                1814.

[Footnote 314: 1827.

    ... so senseless who could be
    In framing estimates of loss and gain,
    As long ...                                                  1814.

    In making estimates ...                                        MS.

[Footnote 315: 1836.

    ... less.                                                    1814.

[Footnote 316: This line was added in 1836.]

[Footnote 317: 1836.

    Infer not hence a hope from those withheld                   1814.

[Footnote 318: 1836.

    Oh! no, full oft the innocent Sufferer sees                  1814.

[Footnote 319: 1827

    ... its own pure Will.                                       1814.

[Footnote 320: 1827

      Here then we rest: not fearing to be left
    In undisturbed possession of our creed
    For aught that human reasoning can achieve,
    To unsettle or perplex us: ...                               1814.

[Footnote 321: 1827.

    ... open vanities
    Of dissipation; countless, still-renewed,
    Ephemeral offspring ...                                      1814.

[Footnote 322: 1827.

    And from the encroachment ...                                1814.

[Footnote 323: 1827.

    Tow'rds ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 324: 1845.

    For such exalted confidence could e'er                       1814.

[Footnote 325: 1827.

    ... such                                                     1814.

[Footnote 326: 1827.

    The two extremes are equally remote
    From Truth and Reason;--do not, then, confound
    One with the other, but reject them both;
    And choose the middle point, whereon to build
    Sound expectations. This doth he advise                      1814.

    ... despair
    Tho' transcient sadness were as natural
    As that a cloud albeit silver bright
    Should fling yon dark spot on the mountain side.
    Forced by sharp recoil from one extreme                        MS.

[Footnote 327: 1814.

    Which to your over-weening spirits feeds
    Hope of a godlike flight, ...                                   C.

[Footnote 328: 1827.

    "Knowing"--(to adopt the energetic words
    Which a time-hallowed Poet hath employed)
    "Knowing ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 329: 1836.

    The Redbreast feeds in winter from your hand;                1814.

[Footnote 330: 1836.

    Towards her native firmament of heaven,                      1814.

[Footnote 331: 1820.

    This shady valley leaves,-- ...                              1814.

[Footnote 332: 1845.

    ... a solemn bleat;
    Sent forth as if it were the Mountain's voice,               1814.

[Footnote 333: 1845.

    As he expressed; for, from the mountain's heart
    The solemn bleat appeared to come; there was
    No other--and the region all around
    Stood silent, empty of all shape of life.
    --It was a Lamb--left somewhere to itself,                   1814.

    As he expressed; from out the mountain's heart
    The solemn bleat appeared to issue, startling
    The blank air--for the region all around
    Stood silent, empty of all shape of life:                    1827.

    As he described, the regions all around
    Stood silent, empty of all shape of life.
    And from the mountain's stony heart the voice
    Appeared to come, though but the unanswered bleat               C.

    Again! in the surrounding vacancy
    The effect upon the soul was ...                                C.

[Footnote 334: 1836.

    ... he thus ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 335: 1827.

    Her foresight; and the intelligence ...                      1814.

[Footnote 336: 1827.

    ... flocks,                                                  1814.

[Footnote 337: 1836.

    Unscattered by the wind, at whose loud call
    Their voyage was begun: ...                                  1814.

    By the rough wind unscattered, at whose call
    Their voyage was begun: ...                                  1827.

    Their voyage they began: ...                                    C.

[Footnote 338: 1832.

    ... etherial arch                                            1814.

[Footnote 339: 1836.

    Was to your sight revealed! ...                              1814.

[Footnote 340: 1836.

    ... and perceived.
    There is a luxury ...                                        1814.

[Footnote 341: 1836.

    ... these ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 342: 1827.

    ... towards ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 343: 1845.

    An animated eye; and thoughts were mine
    Which this ejaculation clothed in words--                    1814.

    A kindling eye;--poetic feelings rushed
    Into my bosom, whence these words broke forth:               1827.

[Footnote 344: 1845.

    ... exclaim aloud
    Be this continued so from day to day,
    Nor let it have an end from month to month!"                 1814.

    'Be this continued so from day to day,
    Nor let the fierce commotion have an end,
    Ruinous though it be, from month to month!'"                 1827.

    May this wild uproar last from day to day
    Nor let from month to month the fierce commotion,
    Ruinous though it be, abate its rage.                           C.

[Footnote 345: 1827.

    Shall feel the stirrings of them late and long;              1814.

[Footnote 346: 1827.

    ... spots[EP] ...                                            1814.

[Footnote 347: 1827.

    ... expressed
    As by a duplicate, at least set forth
    With brotherly resemblance....                               1814.

[Footnote 348: 1836.

    ... by ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 349: 1836.

    ... endued                                                   1814.

[Footnote 350: 1836.

    The Sultan hides within ...                                  1814.

[Footnote 351: 1836.

    ... raised?                                                  1814.

[Footnote 352: 1845.

    A not unwholesome food, and earth and air
    Supply his morbid humour with delight.                       1814.

    Food not unwholesome; earth and air correct
    His morbid humour, with delight supplied.                    1836.

[Footnote 353: 1836.

    And shady groves, for recreation framed:                     1814.

[Footnote 354: 1827.

    This rather would I do ...                                   1814.

[Footnote 355: 1836.

    Or if the Mind turn inward 'tis perplexed,
    Lost in a gloom of uninspired research;                      1814.

[Footnote 356: 1845.

    ... restlessly revolves,
    Yet nowhere finds the cheering light of truth.               1814.

    Rests not but on its axis, evermore
    Revolving, nowhere finds the light of truth.                    C.

    Seeks, yet can nowhere find the light of truth.                 C.

[Footnote 357: 1836.

    He heard, upon the wind, ...                                 1814.

[Footnote 358: 1836.

    ... these pure Heights                                       1814.

[Footnote 359: 1827.

    In ...                                                       1814.

[Footnote 360: 1827.

    The ...                                                      1814.

[Footnote 361: 1827.

    ... brows--                                                  1814.

[Footnote 362: 1827.

    ... and, from that Height
    Pure and serene, the Godhead overlook                        1814.

[Footnote 363: 1836.

    ... of variegated sky,                                       1814.

[Footnote 364: 1836.

    ... did his hand bestow                                      1814.

[Footnote 365: 1836.

    ... denials                                                  1814.

[Footnote 366: 1845.

    "And moisten all day long ...                                1814.

[Footnote 367: 1827.

    There shall be,--seen, and heard, and felt, and known,
    And recognized,--existence unexposed                         1814.

[Footnote 368: 1827.

    Of much exalted good that may attend
    Upon the very humblest state.-- ...                          1814.

[Footnote 369: 1836.

    ... who ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 370: 1836.

    ... and adapt
    His round ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 371: 1827.

    ... a Man like this                                          1814.

[Footnote 372: 1827.

    They come and go, appear and disappear;                      1814.

    ... disappear'd,                                               MS.

[Footnote 373: 1845.

    Among wild mountains and unpeopled heaths,                   1814.

    Among wild hills, and thinly-peopled shores,                    C.

[Footnote 374: 1814.

      Once more to distant ages of the world
    Let us revert and contemplate the face,
    That face which rural solitude might wear
    To the unenlightened sons of pagan Greece.                      C.

    Which Nature in her solitudes might wear.                       C.

[Footnote 375: 1836.

    ... lifting up his eyes
    Towards the crescent Moon, ...                               1814.

[Footnote 376: 1814.

    Helped by the reflection of her own fair face,
    Or rather say the lover at her side,
    Looking with earnest eyes into the depth
    Of a still lake amid the glimmering growth
    Of plants that there were nourished.                            C.

    Helped by reflection of her own fair face,
    Or, if not she, the lover at her side,
    Some beautiful inhabitant who there
    Might dwell in calm security unknown
    To mortal credence. Hence the green haired brood.               C.

[Footnote 377: 1827.

    ... heavens,                                                 1814.

[Footnote 378: 1845.

    No apter Strain could have been chosen: I marked             1814.

    As this apt strain proceeded, I could mark                   1827.

[Footnote 379: 1827.

    ... on ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 380: 1836.

    Who fled to caves, and woods, and naked rocks                1814.

[Footnote 381: 1845.

    In caves, and woods, and under dismal rocks,
    Deprived of shelter, covering, fire, and food;               1814.

    In woods, and dwell beneath impending rocks
    Ill-sheltered, and oft wanting fire and food;                1836.

[Footnote 382: 1827.

    With which the desarts rang ...                              1814.

[Footnote 383: 1836.

    ... Souls--                                                  1814.

[Footnote 384: 1827.

    ... could He design,
    Or will his rites and services permit,
    That this ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 385: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 386: 1836.

    ... end ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 387: 1827.

    ... when the human soul
    Is ...                                                       1814.

[Footnote 388: 1827.

    ... doth ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 389: 1840.

    His tottering Body was oppressed with flowers;
    Far less becoming ornaments than those
    With which Spring often decks a mouldering Tree!             1814.

    His tottering Body was with wreaths of flowers
    Opprest, far less becoming ornaments
    Than Spring oft twines about a mouldering Tree;              1827.

[Footnote 390: 1827.

    ... framed, ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 391: 1845.

    ... better Lights and Guides than
    these--                                                      1814.

[Footnote 392: 1827.

    ... is ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 393: 1827.

    ... and thereby can live,                                    1814.

[Footnote 394: 1836.

    ... disconsolate and black,                                  1814.

[Footnote 395: 1836.

    On stormy waters, in a little Boat                           1814.

[Footnote 396: 1827.

                            In rueful tone,
    With some impatience in his mien he spake;
    And this reply was given.--                                  1814.

[Footnote 397: 1827.

    --For Him, to whom I speak, an easy road                     1814.

    Then do not droop, a hopeful road for you.                     MS.

[Footnote 398: 1814.

    And while in silence hushed ...                                 C.

[Footnote 399: 1845.

    Brightened with joy; for murmurings from within
    Were heard,--sonorous cadences! whereby,
    To his belief, the Monitor expressed                         1814.

[Footnote 400: 1827.

    ... the ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 401: 1827.

    And ...                                                      1814.

[Footnote 402: 1836.

    Doth know and love ...                                       1814.

[Footnote 403: 1827.

    ... of absent Things,
    Convoked by knowledge; and for his delight
    Still ready to obey the gentle call.
    Trust me, ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 404: 1827.

    For them shall all things speak of Man, they read
    Their duties in all forms; ...                               1814.

[Footnote 405: 1827.

    Departing not, they shall at length obtain ...               1814.

[Footnote 406: 1836.

    Unswerving shall we move, as if impelled                     1814.

[Footnote 407: 1845.

    ... Whate'er we see,
    Whate'er we feel, by agency direct
    Or indirect shall tend to feed and nurse
    Our faculties, shall fix in calmer seats
    Of moral strength, and raise to loftier heights
    Of love divine, our intellectual Soul."                      1814.

    Whate'er we feel, shall tend to feed and nurse,
    By agency direct or indirect,
    Our faculties, shall fix in calmer seats
    Of moral strength, and raise to loftier heights
    Of divine love, ...                                          1836.

    ... Whate'er we see
    Or feel shall tend to quicken and refine
    The humbler functions of corporeal sense.                       C.

    ... or refine
    The humblest ...                                               MS.

[Footnote 408: 1827.

    ... of the assembled Tribes,                                 1814.

[Footnote 409: 1836.

    ... shall not pass away;
    For they sank into me-- ...                                  1814.

[Footnote 410: 1836.

    ... language ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 411: 1836.

    Upon ...                                                     1814.

[Footnote 412: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 413: 1827.

    ... forth in transport ran                                   1814.

[Footnote 414: 1845.

    ... aspect may be read
    A plain assurance ...                                        1814.

[Footnote 415: 1845.

    ... slept,                                                   1814.

[Footnote 416: Added in C.

    Till every thought as gently as a flower,
    That shuts its eyes at close of every day
    Had folded up itself in dreamless sleep.[FY]


[Footnote DW: In January 1849, the year before Wordsworth's death, he was
asked by Mr. Francis C. Yarnall of Philadelphia for his autograph, for a
lady in America; and, in reply, he wrote the four lines, beginning

    Soul of our Souls, and safeguard of the world!

They were doubtless suggested to him at the time by the death of his own
daughter. See Mr. Yarnall's paper on "Wordsworth's Influence in America,"
in the _Transactions of the Wordsworth Society_, No. v.--ED.]

[Footnote DX: With this whole passage compare the teaching of Kant's
three _Kritiken_.--ED.]

[Footnote DY: Compare the _Ode, Intimations of Immortality_--

    Trailing clouds of glory do we come
    From God, who is our home.


[Footnote DZ: Compare book i. l. 200.--ED.]

[Footnote EA: Compare book i. ll. 215-16.--ED.]

[Footnote EB: Compare _Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey_,
ll. 83-85 (vol. ii. p. 54)--

                  That time is past,
    And all its aching joys are now no more,
    And all its dizzy raptures.                                    ED.

[Footnote EC: See Matthew Sylvester's _Reliquiæ Baxterianæ_, _or the Life
of Richard Baxter_, book i. part i. l. 213, p. 32: "To despise earth is
easy to me; but not so easy to be acquainted and conversant in Heaven. I
have nothing in this world which I could not easily let go: but to get
satisfying apprehension of the other world is the great and grievous

See also Wordsworth's note, p. 387.--ED.]

[Footnote ED: See Wordsworth's note, p. 387.--ED.]

[Footnote EE: Compare Milton's _Ode on the Nativity_, l. 119.--ED.]

[Footnote EF: St. Matt. xi. 19.--ED.]

[Footnote EG: See Wordsworth's note, p. 387.--ED.]

[Footnote EH: Samuel Daniel; from his poem, _To the Lady Margaret,
Countess of Cumberland_. In his note Wordsworth says, "The two last lines
printed in italics, are by him" (_i.e._ Daniel) "translated from Seneca."
The passage is: "O quam contempta res est homo, nisi supra humana
surrexerit" (_Natur. quaest._ lib. i. praef. 4). The discovery of this
passage cost the late Bishop of St. Andrews several long days' hunting
through Seneca's works. He wrote me afterwards: "The passage has nothing
to do with moral elevation, the next words are 'quam diu cum affectibus
colluctamur quid magnifici facimus.'"

The following occurs in _The Soul's Conflict_, by Richard Sibbes (1635),
ch. ix.--"We see likewise hence a necessity of having something in the
soul above itself. It must be partaker of a diviner nature than itself;
otherwise, when the most refined part of our souls, the very spirit of
our minds, is out of frame, what shall bring it in again?" See also the
extract from Bacon's Essay, XVI., prefixed to _The White Doe of Rylstone_
(vol. iv. p. 105).--ED.]

[Footnote EI: The fact of the eagle having once haunted the Cumbrian and
Westmoreland valleys is proved by the number of rocks, crags, etc., that
are named from it.--ED.]

[Footnote EJ: The following occurs in the Fenwick note to the lines
addressed _To Joanna_ in the "Poems on the naming of Places" (vol.
ii. p. 157): "The effect of the reverberation of voices in some parts
of the mountains is very striking. There is, in _The Excursion_, an
allusion to the bleat of a lamb thus re-echoed, and described without
any exaggeration, as I heard it, on the side of Stickle Tarn, from the
precipice that stretches on to Langdale Pikes." The "precipice" referred
to is Pavy Ark.--ED.]

[Footnote EK: There are many ant-hills in this district of Westmoreland.
Note that the description here is of the effect of a lake seen from
above, looking down on it.--ED.]

[Footnote EL: The fieldfares have a habit of settling together, and
sitting perfectly still, till they are disturbed; when they fly off, and
settling again, sit silently as before.--ED.]

[Footnote EM: Blea Tarn.--ED.]

[Footnote EN: Compare "Rules and Lessons" in Henry Vaughan's _Silex

[Footnote EO: The heights of Blake Rigg and Lingmoor.--ED.]

[Footnote EP: Possibly a misprint in the editions of 1814 and 1820.--ED.]

[Footnote EQ: Compare the _Poet's Epitaph_ (vol. ii. p. 75).--ED.]

[Footnote ER: Compare Genesis iii. 8.--ED.]

[Footnote ES: Genesis xviii. 1, 2.--ED.]

[Footnote ET: Genesis iii. 24.--ED.]

[Footnote EU: Genesis iii. 16, 17.--ED.]

[Footnote EV: Exodus vi. 3.--ED.]

[Footnote EW: Exodus xxxiii. 9; xxxiv. 5.--ED.]

[Footnote EX: Exodus xxxvii. 1; Hebrews ix. 4.--ED.]

[Footnote EY: Exodus xxv. 22.--ED.]

[Footnote EZ: Exodus xv. 25; xvi. 4, etc. etc.--ED.]

[Footnote FA: Exodus vii.-xi.--ED.]

[Footnote FB: The ancient Persian religion was nature worship.--ED.]

[Footnote FC: Compare _Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey_,
II. 100-102 (vol. ii. p. 55)--

    A motion and a spirit, that impels
    All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
    And rolls through all things.                                  ED.

[Footnote FD: Herodotus thus describes the temple of Belus:--"... A
square enclosure two furlongs each way, with gates of solid brass; which
were also remaining in my time. In the middle of the precinct there was
a tower of solid masonry, a furlong in length and breadth, upon which
was raised a second tower, and on that a third, and so up to eight. The
ascent to the top is on the outside, by a path which winds round all
the towers. When one is about half way up, one finds a resting place
and seats, where persons are wont to sit some time in their way to the
summit. On the topmost tower there is a spacious Temple, and inside the
Temple stands a couch of unusual size, richly adorned, with a golden
table by its side. There is no statue of any kind set up in the place....
The Chaldeans, the priests of this God, declare--but I, for my part, do
not credit it--that the God comes down nightly into this chamber and
sleeps upon the couch."--Herodotus, i. 181. See Rawlinson's version, vol.
i. pp. 319, 320. Compare also Josephus, _Ant. Jud._ x. 11, and Strabo,

[Footnote FE: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury--the only planets
known to the ancients, the Earth not being included.--ED.]

[Footnote FF: The reference here is still apparently to the "planetary
Five," which are _all_ described as "radiant Mercuries" (although one of
them was Mercury), because they all--

                                seemed to move
    Carrying through ether, in perpetual round,
    Decrees and resolutions of the Gods;
    And, by their aspects, signifying works
    Of dim futurity.

This astrological allusion makes it clear that the reference is to
the supposed "planetary influence," and to the movements of these
bodies--controlled by the gods--with which the fate of mortals was
believed to be upbound. For an account of the Gods of the Five Planets,
see _Chaldean Magic_, by François Lenormant, pp. 26 and 118.--ED.]

[Footnote FG: Compare _Lycidas_, 1. 154--

    Ay me! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas,

and note that Charles Lamb, who was familiar with _The Excursion_, quotes
the above line ("Distant Correspondents") thus--

    Aye me! while thee the seas and sounding shores.               ED.

[Footnote FH: The strolling Greek minstrels from Homer onwards,
predecessors of the Troubadours.--ED.]

[Footnote FI: The reference is doubtless to Pausanias, i. 37, 3. "Before
you cross the Cephisus, there is the monument of Theodorus, who excelled
all his contemporaries as an actor in tragedy; and near to the river,
there are [two] statues, one of Mnesimache, another of her son, in the
act of cutting off his hair [over the stream and presenting it] as a
votive offering to the Cephisus." See Note D in the Appendix to this
volume, p. 396.--ED.]

[Footnote FJ: Compare _King Henry VI._, Part III. act ii. scene v. ll.

    To sit upon a hill, as I do now,
    To carve out dials quaintly, point by point,
    Thereby to see the minutes how they run.                       ED.

[Footnote FK: Apollo.--ED.]

[Footnote FL: Diana.--ED.]

[Footnote FM: The ναἴάδες (water-nymphs) and ὁρειάδες (mountain-nymphs),
with others of the meadows woods and dales, sprung from the fertile
imagination of the Greeks. Wordsworth's explanation of the origin of
these myths from natural causes is not peculiar to him, although his
lines are a _locus classicus_ on the subject; but his explanation of the
"lurking Satyrs," as due to the sight of the horns of the deer, or the
goats, in the woods, is probably his own.--ED.]

[Footnote FN: St. Fillan. There were two Scottish saints of that name.
The first, and most famous, the particulars of whose life are recorded
in the Breviary of Aberdeen, Felanus, or Fœlanus, Fælan, Fillanus,
Filane, or Phillane, the son of Kentigern. In Perthshire, the scene of
his labours, a river and a strath are called after him, and a Church
dedicated to him. He was associated with the battle of Bannockburn. (See
_Kalendars of Scottish Saints_, by A. P. Forbes, Bishop of Brechin.)--ED.]

[Footnote FO: For the legendary History of St. Giles see the Breviary
of the Roman Church. (It has been translated recently by the Marquis
of Bute.) Dr. Cameron Lees, minister of St. Giles' Cathedral Church,
Edinburgh, sends me the following notice of the Saint:--"How St. Giles
became the patron Saint of Edinburgh is not known. His 'hind' is upon
the arms of the city.[FQ] An arm bone of St. Giles was one of the chief
treasures of the church. It was brought from France by Preston of Gorton,
who procured it by the 'assistance of the King of France.' This relic
was contained in a richly jewelled shrine, and carried through Edinburgh
in procession on the Saint's day, the 1st September. An account of this
procession is given by Sir D. Lindsay and by Knox. The only other church
in Scotland under the dedication of St. Giles was at Elgin."--ED.]

[Footnote FP: Now happily accomplished through the labour and the
munificence of the late Dr. Chambers.--ED.]

[Footnote FQ: For reference to the "Hind," see the Breviary.--ED.]

[Footnote FR: Compare the _Poet's Epitaph_ (vol. ii. p. 75).--ED.]

[Footnote FS: Voltaire.--ED.]

[Footnote FT: In his eighty-fourth year, Voltaire went up to Paris from
Ferney in Switzerland (where he had lived for twenty years), and amid the
tumultuous enthusiasm of the Parisians, he was crowned at the Comédie
Française, as the Athenian poets used to be. "The Court of the Louvre,
vast as it is, was full of people waiting for him. As soon as his notable
vehicle came in sight, the cry arose, _Le voilà!_ The Savoyards, the
apple-women, all the rabble of the quarter had assembled there, and the
acclamations _Vive Voltaire!_ resounded as if they would never end....
There was no end till he placed himself on the front seat, beside the
ladies. Then rose a cry _La Couronne!_ and Brizard, the actor, came and
put the garland on his head. _Ah Dieu! vous voulez donc me faire mourir?_
cried M. de Voltaire, weeping with joy, and resisting the honour.... The
Prince de Beauvan, seizing the laurel, replaced it on the head of our
Sophocles, who could refuse no longer." (_Memoires sur Voltaire_, par
Longchamp et Wagnière.)--ED.]

[Footnote FU: Compare Walter Savage Landor, _Gebir_, book i. l. 159--

    But I have sinuous shells of pearly hue
    Within, and they that lustre have imbibed
    In the Sun's palace-porch, where when unyoked
    His chariot-wheel stands midway in the wave:
    Shake one and it awakens, then apply
    Its polish'd lips to your attentive ear,
    And it remembers its august abodes,
    And murmurs as the ocean murmurs there.

Compare also the Fenwick note to the _Evening Voluntary_, beginning--

    What mischief cleaves                                          ED.

[Footnote FV: The nightingale is not heard farther north than the Trent
valley, and there are no woodlarks in the Lake country, as hawks are

[Footnote FW: See note FV on previous page.]

[Footnote FX: The following occurs in Dorothy Wordsworth's Grasmere
Journal, July 27, 1800:--"After tea we rowed down to Loughrigg Fell,
visited the white foxglove, gathered wild strawberries, and walked up
to view Rydale. We lay a long time looking at the lake; the shores all
dim with the scorching sun. The ferns were turning yellow, that is, here
and there one was quite turned. We walked round by Benson's wood home.
The lake was now most still, and reflected the beautiful yellow and blue
and purple and grey colours of the sky. We heard a strange sound in the
Bainriggs wood, as we were floating on the water: it _seemed_ in the
wood, but it must have been above it, for presently we saw a raven very
high above us. It called out, and the dome of the sky seemed to echo the
sound. It called again and again as it flew onwards, and the mountains
gave back the sound, seeming as if from their centre; a musical bell-like
answering to the bird's hoarse voice. We heard both the call of the bird,
and the echo, after we could see him no longer."

Compare the Fenwick note to the _Evening Voluntary_ (1834), beginning--

    The leaves that rustled on this oak-crowned hill.              ED.

Book Fifth



_Farewell to the Valley--Reflections--A large and populous
Vale described[417]--The Pastor's Dwelling, and some account
of him[418]--Church and Monuments--The Solitary musing, and
where--Roused--In the Churchyard the Solitary communicates the thoughts
which had recently passed through his mind--Lofty tone of the Wanderer's
discourse of yesterday adverted to--Rite of Baptism, and the professions
accompanying it, contrasted with the real state of human life--Apology
for the Rite[419]--Inconsistency of the best men--Acknowledgment that
practice falls far below the injunctions of duty as existing in the
mind--General complaint of a falling off in the value of life after the
time of youth--Outward appearances of content and happiness in degree
illusive--Pastor approaches--Appeal made to him--His answer--Wanderer
in sympathy with him--Suggestion that the least ambitious enquirers
may be most free from error--The Pastor is desired to give some
portraits of the living or dead from his own observation of life among
these Mountains--and for what purpose--Pastor consents--Mountain
cottage--Excellent qualities of its Inhabitants--Solitary expresses his
pleasure; but denies the praise of virtue to worth of this kind--Feelings
of the Priest before he enters upon his account of persons interred
in the Churchyard--Graves of unbaptised Infants[420]--Funeral and
sepulchral observances, whence--Ecclesiastical Establishments, whence
derived--Profession of belief in the doctrine of Immortality_

    "Farewell, deep Valley, with thy one rude House,
    And its small lot of life-supporting fields,
    And guardian rocks!--Farewell, attractive seat![421]
    To the still influx of the morning light
    Open, and[422] day's pure cheerfulness, but veiled             5
    From human observation,[FZ] as if yet
    Primeval forests wrapped thee round with dark
    Impenetrable shade; once more farewell,
    Majestic circuit, beautiful abyss,
    By Nature destined from the birth of things                   10
    For quietness profound!"
                              Upon the side
    Of that brown ridge, sole outlet of the vale[GA]
    Which foot of boldest stranger would attempt,
    Lingering[423] behind my comrades, thus I breathed
    A parting tribute to a spot that seemed                       15
    Like the fixed centre of a troubled world.
    Again I halted with reverted eyes;
    The chain that would not slacken, was at length
    Snapt,--and, pursuing leisurely my way,
    How vain, thought I, is it by change of place[424]            20
    To seek that comfort which the mind denies;
    Yet trial and temptation oft are shunned
    Wisely; and by such tenure[425] do we hold
    Frail life's possessions, that even they whose fate
    Yields no peculiar reason of complaint                        25
    Might, by the promise that is here, be won
    To steal from active duties, and embrace
    Obscurity, and undisturbed repose.[426]
    --Knowledge, methinks, in these disordered times,
    Should be allowed a privilege to have                         30
    Her anchorites, like piety of old;[GB]
    Men, who, from faction sacred, and unstained
    By war, might, if so minded, turn aside
    Uncensured, and subsist, a scattered few
    Living to God and nature, and content                         35
    With that communion. Consecrated be
    The spots where such abide! But happier still
    The Man, whom, furthermore, a hope attends
    That meditation and research may guide
    His privacy to principles and powers                          40
    Discovered or invented; or set forth,
    Through his acquaintance with the ways of truth,
    In lucid order; so that, when his course
    Is run, some faithful eulogist may say,
    He sought not praise, and praise did overlook                 45
    His unobtrusive merit; but his life,
    Sweet to himself, was exercised in good
    That shall survive his name and memory.

      Acknowledgments of gratitude sincere
    Accompanied these musings; fervent thanks                     50
    For my own peaceful lot and happy choice;
    A choice that from the passions of the world
    Withdrew, and fixed me in a still retreat;
    Sheltered, but not to social duties lost,
    Secluded, but not buried; and with song                       55
    Cheering my days, and with industrious thought;
    With the ever-welcome[427] company of books;
    With[428] virtuous friendship's soul-sustaining aid,
    And with the blessings of domestic love.

      Thus occupied in mind I paced along,                        60
    Following the rugged road, by sledge or wheel
    Worn in the moorland,[GC] till I overtook
    My two Associates, in the morning sunshine
    Halting together on a rocky knoll,
    Whence the bare road[429] descended rapidly                   65
    To the green meadows of another vale.[GD]

      Here did our pensive Host put forth his hand
    In sign of farewell. "Nay," the old Man said,
    "The fragrant air its coolness still retains;
    The herds and flocks are yet abroad to crop                   70
    The dewy grass; you cannot leave us now,
    We must not part at this inviting hour."
    He yielded,[430] though reluctant; for his mind
    Instinctively disposed him to retire
    To his own covert; as a billow, heaved                        75
    Upon the beach, rolls back into the sea.
    --So we descend: and winding round a rock
    Attain a point that showed the valley--stretched
    In length before us;[GE] and, not distant far,
    Upon a rising ground a grey church-tower,(GE)                 80
    Whose battlements were screened by tufted trees.
    And towards a crystal Mere, that lay beyond
    Among steep hills and woods embosomed, flowed
    A copious stream with boldly-winding course;
    Here traceable, there hidden--there again                     85
    To sight restored, and glittering in the sun.
    On the stream's bank, and every where, appeared
    Fair dwellings, single, or in social knots;
    Some scattered o'er the level, others perched
    On the hill sides, a cheerful quiet scene,                    90
    Now in its morning purity arrayed.

      "As 'mid some happy valley of the Alps,"
    Said I, "once happy, ere tyrannic power,
    Wantonly breaking in upon the Swiss,
    Destroyed their unoffending commonwealth,                     95
    A popular equality reigns here,
    Save for yon stately House[GF] beneath whose roof
    A rural lord might dwell."--"No feudal pomp,
    Or power," replied the Wanderer, "to that House
    Belongs, but there in his allotted Home                      100
    Abides, from year to year, a genuine Priest,[431]
    The shepherd of his flock; or, as a king
    Is styled, when most affectionately praised,
    The father of his people. Such is he;
    And rich and poor, and young and old, rejoice                105
    Under his spiritual sway. He hath vouchsafed[432]
    To me some portion of a[433] kind regard;
    And something also of his inner mind
    Hath he imparted--but I speak of him
    As he is known to all.
                            The calm delights                    110
    Of unambitious piety he chose,
    And learning's solid dignity; though born
    Of knightly race, nor wanting powerful friends.
    Hither,[434] in prime of manhood, he withdrew
    From academic bowers. He loved the spot--                    115
    Who does not love his native soil?--he prized
    The ancient rural character, composed
    Of simple manners, feelings unsupprest
    And undisguised, and strong and serious thought;
    A character reflected in himself,                            120
    With such embellishment as well beseems
    His rank and sacred function. This deep vale
    Winds far in reaches hidden from our sight,
    And one a turreted manorial hall
    Adorns, in which the good Man's ancestors                    125
    Have dwelt through ages--Patrons of this Cure.
    To them, and to his own judicious pains,[435]
    The Vicar's dwelling, and the whole domain,
    Owes that presiding aspect which might well
    Attract your notice; statelier than could else               130
    Have been bestowed, through[436] course of common chance,
    On an unwealthy mountain Benefice."

      This said, oft pausing,[437] we pursued our way;
    Nor reached the village-churchyard[GG] till the sun
    Travelling at steadier pace than ours, had risen             135
    Above the summits of the highest hills,
    And round our path darted oppressive beams.

      As chanced, the portals of the sacred Pile
    Stood open; and we entered. On my frame,
    At such transition from the fervid air,                      140
    A grateful coolness fell, that seemed to strike
    The heart, in concert with that temperate awe
    And natural reverence which the place inspired.[GH]
    Not raised in[438] nice proportions was the pile;
    But large and massy; for duration built;                     145
    With pillars crowded, and the roof upheld
    By naked rafters intricately crossed,
    Like leafless underboughs, in some thick wood,[439]
    All withered by the depth of shade above.
    Admonitory texts inscribed the walls,                        150
    Each, in its ornamental scroll, enclosed;
    Each also crowned with winged heads--a pair
    Of rudely-painted Cherubim. The floor
    Of nave and aisle, in unpretending guise,
    Was occupied by oaken benches ranged                         155
    In seemly rows; the chancel only showed
    Some vain distinctions, marks of earthly state
    By immemorial privilege allowed;
    Though with the Encincture's special sanctity
    But ill according. An heraldic shield,                       160
    Varying its tincture with the changeful light,
    Imbued the altar-window; fixed aloft
    A faded hatchment hung, and one by time
    Yet undiscoloured.[440] A capacious pew
    Of sculptured oak stood here, with drapery lined;            165
    And marble monuments were here displayed
    Thronging the walls;[441] and on the floor beneath
    Sepulchral stones appeared, with emblems graven
    And foot-worn epitaphs, and some with small
    And shining effigies of brass inlaid.[GI]                    170

      The tribute by these various records claimed,
    Duly we paid, each after each, and read[442]
    The ordinary chronicle of birth,
    Office, alliance, and promotion--all
    Ending in dust; of upright magistrates,                      175
    Grave doctors strenuous for the mother-church,
    And uncorrupted senators, alike
    To king and people true. A brazen plate,
    Not easily deciphered, told of one
    Whose course of earthly honour was begun                     180
    In quality of page among the train
    Of the eighth Henry, when he crossed the seas
    His royal state to show, and prove his strength
    In tournament, upon the fields of France.
    Another tablet registered the death,                         185
    And praised the gallant bearing, of a Knight
    Tried in the sea-fights of the second Charles.
    Near this brave Knight his father lay entombed;
    And, to the silent language giving voice,
    I read,--how in his manhood's earlier day                    190
    He, 'mid the afflictions of intestine war,
    And rightful government subverted, found
    One only solace--that he had espoused
    A virtuous Lady tenderly beloved
    For her benign perfections; and yet more                     195
    Endeared to him, for this,[443] that, in her state
    Of wedlock richly crowned with Heaven's regard,
    She with a numerous issue filled his house,
    Who throve, like plants, uninjured by the storm
    That laid their country waste. No need to speak              200
    Of less particular notices assigned
    To Youth or Maiden gone before their time,
    And Matrons and unwedded Sisters old;
    Whose charity and goodness were rehearsed
    In modest panegyric.
                          "These dim lines,                      205
    What would they tell?" said I,--but, from the task
    Of puzzling out that faded narrative,
    With whisper soft my venerable Friend
    Called me; and, looking down the darksome aisle,
    I saw the Tenant of the lonely vale                          210
    Standing apart; with curvèd arm reclined
    On the baptismal font; his pallid face
    Upturned, as if his mind were rapt, or lost
    In some abstraction; gracefully he stood,
    The semblance bearing of a sculptured form                   215
    That leans upon a monumental urn
    In peace, from morn to night, from year to year.

      Him from that posture did the Sexton rouse;
    Who entered, humming carelessly a tune,[GJ]
    Continuation haply of the notes                              220
    That had beguiled the work from which he came,
    With spade and mattock o'er his shoulder hung;
    To be deposited, for future need,
    In their appointed place. The pale Recluse
    Withdrew; and straight we followed,--to a spot               225
    Where sun and shade were intermixed; for there
    A broad oak, stretching forth its leafy arms
    From an adjoining pasture, overhung
    Small space of that green churchyard with a light
    And pleasant awning.[GK] On the moss-grown wall              230
    My ancient Friend and I together took
    Our seats; and thus the Solitary spake,
    Standing before us:--
                           "Did you note the mien
    Of that self-solaced, easy-hearted churl,                    234
    Death's hireling, who scoops out his neighbour's grave,
    Or wraps an old acquaintance up in clay,
    All unconcerned as he would bind a sheaf,
    Or plant a tree.[GL] And did you hear his voice?[444]
    I was abruptly summoned by the sound[445]
    From some affecting images and thoughts,                     240
    Which then were silent; but crave utterance now.

      "Much," he continued, with dejected look,
    "Much, yesterday,[446] was said in glowing phrase
    Of our sublime dependencies, and hopes
    For future states of being; and the wings                    245
    Of speculation, joyfully outspread,
    Hovered above our destiny on earth:
    But stoop, and place the prospect of the soul
    In sober contrast with reality,
    And man's substantial life. If this mute earth               250
    Of what it holds could speak, and every grave
    Were as a volume, shut, yet capable
    Of yielding its contents to eye and ear,
    We should recoil, stricken with sorrow and shame,
    To see disclosed, by such dread proof, how ill               255
    That which is done accords with what is known
    To reason, and by conscience is enjoined;
    How idly, how perversely, life's whole course,
    To this conclusion, deviates from the line,
    Or of the end stops short, proposed to all                   260
    At her[447] aspiring outset.
                                "Mark the babe
    Not long accustomed to this breathing world;
    One that hath barely learned to shape a smile,
    Though yet irrational of soul, to grasp
    With tiny finger[448]--to let fall a tear;                   265
    And, as the heavy cloud of sleep dissolves,
    To stretch his limbs, bemocking, as might seem,
    The outward functions of intelligent man;
    A grave proficient in amusive feats
    Of puppetry, that from the lap declare                       270
    His expectations, and announce his claims
    To that inheritance which millions rue
    That they were ever born to! In due time
    A day of solemn ceremonial comes;
    When they, who for this Minor hold in trust                  275
    Rights that transcend the loftiest[449] heritage
    Of mere humanity, present their Charge,
    For this occasion daintily adorned,
    At the baptismal font. And when the pure
    And consecrating element hath cleansed                       280
    The original stain, the child is there received
    Into the second ark, Christ's church, with trust
    That he, from wrath redeemed, therein shall float
    Over the billows of this troublesome world
    To the fair land of everlasting life.                        285
    Corrupt affections, covetous desires,
    Are all renounced; high as the thought of man
    Can carry virtue, virtue is professed;
    A dedication made, a promise given
    For due provision to control and guide,                      290
    And unremitting progress to ensure
    In holiness and truth."
                             "You cannot blame,"
    Here interposing fervently I said,
    "Rites which attest that Man by nature lies
    Bedded for good and evil in a gulf                           295
    Fearfully low; nor will your judgment scorn
    Those services, whereby attempt is made
    To lift the creature toward[450] that eminence
    On which, now fallen, erewhile in majesty
    He stood; or if not so, whose top serene                     300
    At least he feels 'tis given him to descry;
    Not without aspirations, evermore
    Returning, and injunctions from within
    Doubt to cast off and weariness; in trust
    That what the Soul perceives, if glory lost,                 305
    May be, through pains and persevering hope,
    Recovered; or, if hitherto unknown,
    Lies within reach, and one day shall be gained."

      "I blame them not," he calmly answered--"no;
    The outward ritual and established forms                     310
    With which communities of men invest
    These inward feelings, and the aspiring vows
    To which the lips give public utterance
    Are both a natural process; and by me
    Shall pass uncensured; though the issue prove,               315
    Bringing from age to age its own reproach,
    Incongruous, impotent, and blank.--But, oh!
    If to be weak is to be wretched--miserable,[GM]
    As the lost Angel by a human voice
    Hath mournfully pronounced, then, in my mind,                320
    Far better not to move at all than move
    By impulse sent from such illusive power,--
    That finds and cannot fasten down; that grasps
    And is rejoiced, and loses while it grasps;
    That tempts, emboldens--for a time sustains,[451]            325
    And then betrays; accuses and inflicts
    Remorseless punishment; and so retreads
    The inevitable circle; better far
    Than this, to graze the herb in thoughtless peace,
    By foresight or remembrance, undisturbed!                    330

      "Philosophy! and thou more vaunted name
    Religion! with thy statelier retinue,
    Faith, Hope, and Charity--from the visible world
    Choose for your emblems whatsoe'er ye find
    Of safest guidance or[452] of firmest trust--                335
    The torch, the star, the anchor; nor except
    The cross itself, at whose unconscious feet
    The generations of mankind have knelt
    Ruefully seized, and shedding bitter tears,
    And through that conflict seeking rest--of you,              340
    High-titled Powers, am I constrained to ask,
    Here standing, with the unvoyageable sky
    In faint reflection of infinitude
    Stretched overhead, and at my pensive feet
    A subterraneous magazine of bones,                           345
    In whose dark vaults my own shall soon be laid,
    Where are your triumphs? your dominion where?
    And in what age admitted and confirmed?
    --Not for a happy land do I enquire,
    Island or grove, that hides a blessed few                    350
    Who, with obedience willing and sincere,
    To your serene authorities conform;
    But whom, I ask, of individual Souls,
    Have ye withdrawn from passion's crooked ways,
    Inspired, and thoroughly fortified?--If the heart            355
    Could be inspected to its inmost folds
    By sight undazzled with the glare of praise,
    Who shall be named--in the resplendent line
    Of sages, martyrs, confessors--the man
    Whom the best might of faith, wherever fix'd,[453]           360
    For one day's little compass, has preserved
    From painful and discreditable shocks
    Of contradiction, from some vague desire
    Culpably cherished, or corrupt relapse
    To some unsanctioned fear?"
                                "If this be so,                  365
    And Man," said I, "be in his noblest shape
    Thus pitiably infirm; then, he who made,
    And who shall judge the creature, will forgive.
    --Yet, in its general tenor, your complaint
    Is all too true; and surely not misplaced:                   370
    For, from this pregnant spot of ground, such thoughts
    Rise to the notice of a serious mind
    By natural exhalation. With the dead
    In their repose, the living in their mirth,
    Who can reflect, unmoved, upon the round                     375
    Of smooth and solemnized complacencies,
    By which, on Christian lands, from age to age
    Profession mocks performance? Earth is sick,
    And Heaven is weary, of the hollow words
    Which States and Kingdoms utter when they talk               380
    Of truth and justice. Turn to private life
    And social neighbourhood; look we to ourselves;
    A light of duty shines on every day
    For all; and yet how few are warmed or cheered!
    How few who mingle with their fellow-men                     385
    And still remain self-governed, and apart,
    Like this our honoured Friend; and thence acquire
    Right to expect his vigorous decline,
    That promises to the end a blest old age!"

      "Yet," with a smile of triumph thus exclaimed              390
    The Solitary, "in the life of man,
    If to the poetry of common speech
    Faith may be given, we see as in a glass
    A true reflection of the circling year,
    With all its seasons. Grant that Spring is there,            395
    In spite of many a rough untoward blast,
    Hopeful and promising with buds and flowers;
    Yet where is glowing Summer's long rich day,
    That _ought_ to follow faithfully expressed?
    And mellow Autumn, charged with bounteous fruit,             400
    Where is she imaged? in what favoured clime
    Her lavish pomp, and ripe magnificence?
    --Yet, while the better part is missed, the worse
    In man's autumnal season is set forth
    With a resemblance not to be denied,                         405
    And that contents him; bowers that hear no more
    The voice of gladness, less and less supply
    Of outward sunshine and internal warmth;
    And, with this change, sharp air and falling leaves,
    Foretelling aged Winter's desolate sway.[454]                410

      "How gay the habitations that bedeck[455]
    This fertile valley! Not a house but seems
    To give assurance of content within;[GN]
    Embosomed happiness, and placid love;
    As if the sunshine of the day were met                       415
    With answering brightness in the hearts of all
    Who walk this favoured ground. But chance-regards,
    And notice forced upon incurious ears;
    These, if these only, acting in despite
    Of the encomiums by my Friend pronounced                     420
    On humble life, forbid the judging mind
    To trust the smiling aspect of this fair
    And noiseless commonwealth. The simple race
    Of mountaineers (by nature's self removed
    From foul temptations, and by constant care                  425
    Of a good shepherd tended as themselves
    Do tend their flocks) partake man's general lot[456]
    With little mitigation. They escape,
    Perchance, the heavier woes of guilt; feel not[457]
    The tedium of fantastic idleness:                            430
    Yet life, as with the multitude, with them
    Is fashioned like an ill-constructed tale;
    That on the outset wastes its gay desires,
    Its fair adventures, its enlivening hopes,
    And pleasant interests--for the sequel leaving               435
    Old things repeated with diminished grace;
    And all the laboured novelties at best
    Imperfect substitutes, whose use and power
    Evince the want and weakness whence they spring."

      While in this serious mood we held discourse,              440
    The reverend Pastor toward[458] the church-yard gate
    Approached; and, with a mild respectful air
    Of native cordiality, our Friend
    Advanced to greet him. With a gracious mien
    Was he received, and mutual joy prevailed.                   445
    Awhile they stood in conference, and I guess
    That he, who now upon the mossy wall
    Sate by my side, had vanished, if a wish
    Could have transferred him to the flying clouds,
    Or the least penetrable hiding-place                         450
    In his own valley's rocky guardianship.[459]
    --For me, I looked upon the pair, well pleased:
    Nature had framed them both, and both were marked
    By circumstance, with intermixture fine
    Of contrast and resemblance. To an oak                       455
    Hardy and grand, a weather-beaten oak,
    Fresh in the strength and majesty of age,
    One might be likened: flourishing appeared,
    Though somewhat past the fulness of his prime,
    The other--like a stately sycamore,[GO]                      460
    That spreads, in gentle[460] pomp, its honied shade.

      A general greeting was exchanged; and soon
    The Pastor learned that his approach had given
    A welcome interruption to discourse
    Grave, and in truth too[461] often sad.--"Is Man             465
    A child of hope? Do generations press
    On generations, without progress made?
    Halts the individual, ere his hairs be grey,
    Perforce? Are we a creature in whom good
    Preponderates, or evil? Doth the will                        470
    Acknowledge reason's law? A living power
    Is virtue, or no better than a name,
    Fleeting as health or beauty, and unsound?
    So that the only substance which remains,
    (For thus the tenor of complaint hath run)                   475
    Among so many shadows, are the pains
    And penalties of miserable life,
    Doomed to decay, and then expire in dust!
    --Our cogitations this way have been drawn,                  479
    These are the points," the Wanderer said, "on which
    Our inquest turns.--Accord, good Sir! the light
    Of your experience to dispel this gloom:
    By your persuasive wisdom shall the heart
    That frets, or languishes, be stilled and cheered.

      "Our nature," said the Priest, in mild reply,              485
    "Angels may weigh and fathom: they perceive,
    With undistempered and unclouded spirit,
    The object as it is; but, for ourselves,
    That speculative height _we_ may not reach.
    The good and evil are our own; and we                        490
    Are that which we would contemplate from far.
    Knowledge, for us, is difficult to gain--
    Is difficult to gain, and hard to keep--
    As virtue's self; like virtue is beset
    With snares; tried, tempted, subject to decay.               495
    Love, admiration, fear, desire, and hate,
    Blind were we without these; through these alone
    Are capable to notice or discern
    Or to record; we judge, but cannot be
    Indifferent judges. 'Spite of proudest boast,                500
    Reason, best reason, is to imperfect man
    An effort only, and a noble aim;
    A crown, an attribute of sovereign power,
    Still to be courted--never to be won.
    --Look forth, or each man dive into himself;                 505
    What sees he but a creature too perturbed;
    That is transported to excess; that yearns,
    Regrets, or trembles, wrongly, or too much;
    Hopes rashly, in disgust as rash recoils;
    Battens on spleen, or moulders in despair?                   510
    Thus comprehension fails, and truth is missed;
    Thus darkness[462] and delusion round our path
    Spread, from disease, whose subtle injury lurks
    Within the very faculty of sight.

      "Yet for the general purposes of faith                     515
    In Providence, for solace and support,
    We may not doubt that who can best subject
    The will to reason's law, can[463] strictliest live
    And act in that obedience, he shall gain
    The clearest apprehension of those truths,                   520
    Which unassisted reason's utmost power
    Is too infirm to reach. But, waiving this,
    And our regards confining within bounds
    Of less exalted consciousness, through which
    The very multitude are free to range,                        525
    We safely may affirm that human life
    Is either fair and[464] tempting, a soft scene
    Grateful to sight, refreshing to the soul,
    Or a forbidden[465] tract of cheerless view;
    Even as the same is looked at, or approached.                530
    Thus, when in changeful April fields are white
    With new-fallen snow, if from the sullen north
    Your walk conduct you hither, ere the sun
    Hath gained his noontide height, this churchyard, filled
    With mounds[466] transversely lying side by side             535
    From east to west, before you will appear
    An unillumined, blank, and dreary, plain,[467]
    With more than wintry cheerlessness and gloom
    Saddening the heart. Go forward, and look back;
    Look,[468] from the quarter whence the lord of light,        540
    Of life, of love, and gladness doth dispense
    His beams; which, unexcluded in their fall,
    Upon the southern side of every grave
    Have gently exercised a melting power;
    _Then_ will a vernal prospect greet your eye,                545
    All fresh and beautiful, and green and bright,
    Hopeful and cheerful:--vanished is the pall
    That overspread and chilled the sacred turf,
    Vanished or hidden;[469] and the whole domain,
    To some, too lightly minded, might appear                    550
    A meadow carpet for the dancing hours.[GP]
    --This contrast, not unsuitable to life,
    Is to that other state more apposite,
    Death and its two-fold aspect! wintry--one,
    Cold, sullen, blank, from hope and joy shut out;             555
    The other, which the ray divine hath touched,
    Replete with vivid promise, bright as spring."

      "We see, then, as we feel," the Wanderer thus
    With a complacent animation spake,
    "And in your judgment, Sir! the mind's repose                560
    On evidence is not to be ensured
    By act of naked reason. Moral truth
    Is no mechanic structure, built by rule;
    And which, once built, retains a stedfast shape
    And undisturbed proportions; but a thing                     565
    Subject, you deem, to vital accidents;
    And, like the water-lily, lives and thrives,
    Whose root is fixed in stable earth, whose head
    Floats on the tossing waves. With joy sincere
    I re-salute these sentiments confirmed                       570
    By your authority. But how acquire
    The inward principle that gives effect
    To outward argument; the passive will
    Meek to admit; the active energy,
    Strong and unbounded to embrace, and firm                    575
    To keep and cherish? how shall man unite
    With[470] self-forgetting tenderness of heart
    An[471] earth-despising dignity of soul?
    Wise in that union, and without it blind!"

      "The way," said I, "to court, if not obtain                580
    The ingenuous mind, apt to be set aright;
    This, in the lonely dell discoursing, you
    Declared at large; and by what exercise
    From visible nature, or the inner self
    Power may be trained, and renovation brought                 585
    To those who need the gift. But, after all,
    Is aught so certain as that man is doomed
    To breathe beneath a vault of ignorance?
    The natural roof of that dark house in which
    His soul is pent! How little can be known--                  590
    This is the wise man's sigh; how far we err--
    This is the good man's not unfrequent pang!
    And they perhaps err least, the lowly class
    Whom a benign necessity compels
    To follow reason's least ambitious course;                   595
    Such do I mean who, unperplexed by doubt,
    And unincited by a wish to look
    Into high objects farther than they may,
    Pace to and fro, from morn till even-tide,
    The narrow avenue of daily toil                              600
    For daily bread."
                       "Yes," buoyantly exclaimed
    The pale Recluse--"praise to the sturdy plough,
    And patient spade; praise to the simple crook,[472]
    And ponderous loom--resounding while it holds
    Body and mind in one captivity;                              605
    And let the light mechanic tool be hailed
    With honour; which, encasing by the power
    Of long companionship, the artist's hand,
    Cuts off that hand, with all its world of nerves,
    From a too busy commerce with the heart!                     610
    --Inglorious implements of craft and toil,
    Both ye that shape and build, and ye that force,
    By slow solicitation, earth to yield
    Her annual bounty, sparingly dealt forth
    With wise reluctance; you would I extol,                     615
    Not for gross good alone which ye produce,
    But for the impertinent and ceaseless strife
    Of proofs and reasons ye preclude--in those
    Who to your dull society are born,
    And with their humble birthright rest content.               620
    --Would I had ne'er renounced it!"
                                        A slight flush
    Of moral anger previously had tinged
    The old Man's cheek; but, at this closing turn
    Of self-reproach, it passed away. Said he,
    "That which we feel we utter; as we think                    625
    So have we argued; reaping for our pains
    No visible recompense. For our relief
    You," to the Pastor turning thus he spake,
    "Have kindly interposed. May I entreat
    Your further help? The mine of real life                     630
    Dig for us; and present us, in the shape
    Of virgin ore, that gold which we, by pains
    Fruitless as those of aëry alchemists,
    Seek from the torturing crucible. There lies
    Around us a domain where you have long                       635
    Watched both the outward course and inner heart:[473]
    Give us, for our abstractions, solid facts;
    For our disputes, plain pictures. Say what man
    He is who cultivates yon hanging field;
    What qualities of mind she bears, who comes,                 640
    For morn and evening service, with her pail,
    To that green pasture;[GQ] place before our sight
    The family who dwell within yon house
    Fenced round with glittering laurel;[GR] or in that
    Below, from which the curling smoke ascends.                 645
    Or rather, as we stand on holy earth,
    And have the dead around us,[GS] take from them
    Your instances; for they are both best known,
    And by frail man most equitably judged.
    Epitomise the life; pronounce, you can,                      650
    Authentic epitaphs on some of these
    Who, from their lowly mansions hither brought,
    Beneath this turf lie mouldering at our feet:
    So, by your records, may our doubts be solved;
    And so, not searching higher, we may learn                   655
    _To prize the breath we share with human kind;
    And look upon the dust of man with awe._"[474]

      The Priest replied--"An office you impose
    For which peculiar requisites are mine;
    Yet much, I feel, is wanting--else the task                  660
    Would be most grateful. True indeed it is
    That they whom death has hidden from our sight
    Are worthiest of the mind's regard; with these
    The future cannot contradict the past:
    Mortality's last exercise and proof                          665
    Is undergone; the transit made that shows
    The very Soul, revealed as she[475] departs.
    Yet, on your first suggestion, will I give,
    Ere we descend into these silent vaults,
    One picture from the living.
                                  "You behold,                   670
    High on the breast of yon dark mountain, dark
    With stony barrenness,[GT] a shining speck
    Bright as a sunbeam sleeping till a shower
    Brush it away, or cloud pass over it;                        674
    And such it might be deemed--a sleeping sunbeam;
    But 'tis a plot of cultivated ground,
    Cut off, an island in the dusky waste;
    And that attractive brightness is its own.
    The lofty site, by nature framed to tempt
    Amid a wilderness of rocks and stones                        680
    The tiller's hand, a hermit might have chosen,
    For opportunity presented, thence
    Far forth to send his wandering eye o'er land
    And ocean, and look down upon the works,
    The habitations, and the ways of men,                        685
    Himself unseen! But no tradition tells
    That ever hermit dipped his maple dish
    In the sweet spring that lurks 'mid yon green fields;
    And no such visionary views belong
    To those who occupy and till the ground,                     690
    High on that mountain where they long have dwelt[476]
    A wedded pair in childless solitude.
    A house of stones collected on the spot,
    By rude hands built, with rocky knolls in front,
    Backed also by a ledge of rock, whose crest                  695
    Of birch-trees waves over the chimney top;
    A rough abode--in colour, shape, and size,[477]
    Such as in unsafe times of border-war
    Might have been wished for and contrived, to elude
    The eye of roving plunderer--for their need                  700
    Suffices; and unshaken bears the assault
    Of their most dreaded foe, the strong South-west
    In anger blowing from the distant sea.
    --Alone within her solitary hut;
    There, or within the compass of her fields,                  705
    At any moment may the Dame be found,
    True as the stock-dove to her shallow nest
    And to the grove that holds it. She beguiles
    By intermingled work of house and field
    The summer's day, and winter's; with success                 710
    Not equal, but sufficient to maintain,
    Even at the worst, a smooth stream of content,
    Until the expected hour at which her Mate
    From the far-distant quarry's vault returns;
    And by his converse crowns a silent day                      715
    With evening cheerfulness. In powers of mind,
    In scale of culture, few among my flock[478]
    Hold lower rank than this sequestered pair:
    But true humility descends from heaven;[479]
    And that best gift of heaven hath fallen on them;            720
    Abundant recompense for every want.
    --Stoop from your height, ye proud, and copy these!
    Who, in their noiseless dwelling-place, can hear
    The voice of wisdom whispering scripture texts
    For the mind's government, or temper's peace;                725
    And recommending for their mutual need,
    Forgiveness, patience, hope, and charity!"

      "Much was I pleased," the grey-haired Wanderer said,
    "When to those shining fields our notice first
    You turned; and yet more pleased have from your lips
    Gathered this fair report of them[480] who dwell             731
    In that retirement; whither, by such course
    Of evil hap and good as oft awaits
    A tired way-faring man, once _I_ was brought
    While traversing alone yon mountain pass.                    735
    Dark on my road the autumnal evening fell,[481]
    And night succeeded with unusual gloom,[482]
    So hazardous that feet and hands became[483]
    Guides better than mine eyes--until a light
    High in the gloom appeared, too high, methought,             740
    For human habitation; but I longed
    To reach it, destitute of other hope.
    I looked with steadiness as sailors look
    On the north star, or watch-tower's distant lamp,
    And saw the light--now fixed--and shifting now--[GU]         745
    Not like a dancing meteor, but in line
    Of never-varying motion, to and fro.
    It is no night-fire of the naked hills,
    Thought I[484]--some friendly covert must be near.
    With this persuasion thitherward my steps                    750
    I turn, and reach at last the guiding light;
    Joy to myself! but to the heart of her
    Who there was standing on the open hill,
    (The same kind Matron whom your tongue hath praised)
    Alarm and disappointment! The alarm                          755
    Ceased, when she learned through what mishap I came,
    And by what help had gained those distant fields.
    Drawn from her cottage, on that aëry[485] height,
    Bearing a lantern in her hand she stood,
    Or paced the ground--to guide her Husband home,              760
    By that unwearied signal, kenned afar;[GV]
    An anxious duty! which the lofty site,
    Traversed but by a few irregular paths,[486]
    Imposes, whensoe'er untoward chance
    Detains him after his accustomed hour                        765
    Till night lies black upon the ground. 'But come,
    Come,' said the Matron, 'to our poor abode;
    Those dark rocks hide it!'[487] Entering, I beheld
    A blazing fire--beside a cleanly hearth
    Sate down; and to her office, with leave asked,              770
    The Dame returned.
                        "Or ere[488] that glowing pile
    Of mountain turf required the builder's hand
    Its wasted splendour to repair, the door
    Opened, and she re-entered with glad looks,
    Her Helpmate following. Hospitable fare,                     775
    Frank conversation, made the evening's treat:
    Need a bewildered traveller wish for more?
    But more was given; I studied as we sate
    By the bright fire, the good Man's form, and face
    Not less than beautiful;[489] an open brow                   780
    Of undisturbed humanity; a cheek
    Suffused with something of a feminine hue;[GW]
    Eyes beaming courtesy and mild regard;
    But, in the quicker turns of the discourse,
    Expression slowly varying, that evinced                      785
    A tardy apprehension. From a fount
    Lost, thought I, in the obscurities of time,
    But honoured once, those[490] features and that mien
    May have descended, though I see them here.
    In such a man, so gentle and subdued,                        790
    Withal so graceful in his gentleness,
    A race illustrious for heroic deeds,
    Humbled, but not degraded, may expire.
    This pleasing fancy (cherished and upheld
    By sundry recollections of such fall                         795
    From high to low, ascent from low to high,
    As books record, and even the careless mind
    Cannot but notice among men and things)
    Went with me to the place of my repose.[491]

      "Roused by the crowing cock at dawn of day,                800
    I yet had risen too late to interchange
    A morning salutation with my Host,
    Gone forth already to the far-off seat
    Of his day's work. 'Three dark mid-winter months
    'Pass,' said the Matron, 'and I never see,                   805
    'Save when the sabbath brings its kind release,
    'My helpmate's face by light of day. He quits
    'His door in darkness, nor till dusk returns.
    'And, through Heaven's[492] blessing, thus we gain the bread
    'For which we pray; and for the wants provide                810
    'Of sickness, accident, and helpless age.
    'Companions have I many; many friends,
    'Dependants, comforters--my wheel, my fire,
    'All day the house-clock ticking in mine ear,
    'The cackling hen, the tender chicken brood,                 815
    'And the wild birds that gather round my porch.
    'This honest sheep-dog's countenance I read;
    'With him can talk; nor blush to[493] waste a word
    'On creatures less intelligent and shrewd.
    'And if the blustering wind that drives the clouds           820
    'Care not for me, he lingers round my door,
    'And makes me pastime when our tempers suit;--
    'But, above all, my thoughts are my support,
    'My comfort:--would that they were oftener fixed
    'On what, for guidance in the way that leads                 825
    'To heaven, I know, by my Redeemer taught.'
    The Matron ended[494]--nor could I forbear
    To exclaim--'O happy! yielding to the law
    Of these privations, richer in the main!--
    While thankless thousands are opprest and clogged            830
    By ease and leisure; by the very wealth
    And pride of opportunity made poor;
    While tens of thousands falter in their path,
    And sink, through utter want of cheering light;
    For you the hours of labour do not flag;                     835
    For you each evening hath its shining star,
    And every sabbath-day its golden sun.'"

      "Yes!" said the Solitary with a smile
    That seemed to break from an expanding heart,
    "The untutored bird may found, and so construct,             840
    And with such soft materials line, her nest
    Fixed in the centre of a prickly brake,
    That the thorns wound her not; they only guard.
    Powers not unjustly likened to those gifts
    Of happy instinct which the woodland bird                    845
    Shares with her species, nature's grace sometimes
    Upon the individual doth confer,
    Among her[495] higher creatures born and trained
    To use of reason. And, I own that, tired
    Of the ostentatious world--a swelling stage                  850
    With empty actions and vain passions stuffed,
    And from the private struggles of mankind
    Hoping far[496] less than I could wish to hope,
    Far less than once I trusted and believed--
    I love to hear of those, who, not contending                 855
    Nor summoned to contend for virtue's prize,
    Miss not the humbler good at which they aim,
    Blest with a kindly faculty to blunt
    The edge of adverse circumstance, and turn
    Into their contraries the petty plagues                      860
    And hindrances with which they stand beset.
    In early youth, among my native hills,
    I knew a Scottish Peasant who possessed
    A few small crofts of stone-encumbered ground;
    Masses of every shape and size, that lay                     865
    Scattered about under[497] the mouldering walls
    Of a rough precipice; and some, apart,
    In quarters unobnoxious to such chance,
    As if the moon had showered them down in spite.
    But he repined not. Though the plough was scared             870
    By these obstructions, 'round the shady stones
    A fertilising moisture,' said the Swain,
    'Gathers, and is preserved; and feeding dews
    'And damps, through all the droughty summer day
    'From out their substance issuing, maintain                  875
    'Herbage that never fails: no grass springs up
    'So green, so fresh, so plentiful, as mine!'
    But[498] thinly sown these natures; rare, at least,
    The mutual aptitude of seed and soil
    That yields such kindly product. He, whose bed               880
    Perhaps yon loose sods cover, the poor Pensioner
    Brought yesterday from our sequestered dell
    Here to lie down in lasting quiet, he,
    If living now, could otherwise report
    Of rustic loneliness: that grey-haired Orphan--              885
    So call him, for humanity to him
    No parent was--feelingly could[499] have told,
    In life, in death, what solitude can breed
    Of selfishness, and cruelty, and vice;
    Or, if it breed not, hath not power to cure.                 890
    --But your compliance, Sir! with our request
    My words too long have hindered."
    Perhaps incited rather, by these shocks,
    In no ungracious opposition, given
    To the confiding spirit of his own                           895
    Experienced faith, the reverend Pastor said,
    Around him looking; "Where shall I begin?
    Who shall be first selected from my flock
    Gathered together in their peaceful fold?"
    He paused--and having lifted up his eyes                     900
    To the pure heaven, he cast them down again
    Upon the earth beneath his feet; and spake:--

      "To a mysteriously-united pair[500]
    This place is consecrate; to Death and Life,
    And to the best affections that proceed                      905
    From their conjunction; consecrate to faith
    In him who bled for man upon the cross;
    Hallowed to revelation; and no less[501]
    To reason's mandates; and the hopes divine
    Of pure imagination;--above all,                             910
    To charity, and love, that have provided,
    Within these precincts, a capacious bed
    And receptacle, open to the good
    And evil, to the just and the unjust;
    In which they find an equal resting-place:                   915
    Even as the multitude of kindred brooks
    And streams, whose murmur fills this hollow vale,
    Whether their course be turbulent or smooth,
    Their waters clear or sullied, all are lost
    Within the bosom of yon crystal Lake,                        920
    And end their journey in the same repose!

      "And blest are they who sleep; and we that know,
    While in a spot like this we breathe and walk,
    That all beneath us by the wings are covered
    Of motherly humanity, outspread                              925
    And gathering all within their tender shade,
    Though loth and slow to come! A battle-field,
    In stillness left when slaughter is no more,
    With this compared, makes[502] a strange spectacle!
    A dismal prospect yields the wild shore strewn               930
    With wrecks, and trod by feet of young and old
    Wandering about in miserable search
    Of friends or kindred,[503] whom the angry sea
    Restores not to their prayer! Ah! who would think
    That all the scattered subjects which compose                935
    Earth's melancholy vision through the space
    Of all her climes--these wretched, these depraved,
    To virtue lost, insensible of peace,
    From the delights of charity cut off,
    To pity dead, the oppressor and the opprest;                 940
    Tyrants who utter the destroying word,
    And slaves who will consent to be destroyed--
    Were of one species with the sheltered few,
    Who, with a dutiful and tender hand,
    Lodged, in a dear appropriated spot,[504]                    945
    This file of infants; some that never breathed
    The vital air; others, which, though allowed[505]
    That privilege, did yet expire too soon,
    Or with too brief a warning, to admit
    Administration of the holy rite                              950
    That lovingly consigns the babe to the arms
    Of Jesus, and his everlasting care.
    These that in trembling hope are laid apart;
    And the besprinkled nursling, unrequired
    Till he begins to smile upon the breast                      955
    That feeds him; and the tottering little-one
    Taken from air and sunshine when the rose
    Of infancy first blooms upon his cheek;
    The thinking, thoughtless, school-boy; the bold youth
    Of soul impetuous, and the bashful maid                      960
    Smitten while all the promises of life
    Are opening round her; those of middle age,
    Cast down while confident in strength they stand,
    Like pillars fixed more firmly, as might seem,
    And more secure, by very weight of all                       965
    That, for support, rests on them; the decayed
    And burthensome; and lastly, that poor few
    Whose light of reason is with age extinct;
    The hopeful and the hopeless, first and last,
    The earliest summoned and the longest spared--               970
    Are here deposited, with tribute paid
    Various, but unto each some tribute paid;[506]
    As if, amid these peaceful hills and groves,
    Society were touched with kind concern,
    And gentle 'Nature grieved, that one should die;'[GX]
    Or, if the change demanded no regret,                        976
    Observed the liberating stroke--and blessed.

      "And whence that tribute? wherefore these regards?[GY]
    Not from the naked _Heart_ alone of Man
    (Though claiming high[507] distinction upon earth            980
    As the sole spring and fountain-head of tears,
    His own peculiar utterance for distress
    Or gladness)--No," the philosophic Priest
    Continued, "'tis not in the vital seat
    Of feeling to produce them, without aid                      985
    From the pure soul, the soul sublime and pure;
    With her two faculties of eye and ear,
    The one by which a creature, whom his sins
    Have rendered prone, can upward[508] look to heaven;
    The other that empowers him to perceive                      990
    The voice of Deity, on height and plain,
    Whispering those truths in stillness, which the Word,
    To the four quarters of the winds, proclaims.
    Not without such assistance could the use
    Of these benign observances prevail:                         995
    Thus are they born, thus fostered, thus[509] maintained;
    And by the care prospective of our wise
    Forefathers, who, to guard against the shocks
    The fluctuation and decay of things,
    Embodied and established these high truths                  1000
    In solemn institutions:--men convinced
    That life is love and immortality,
    The being one, and one the element.
    There lies the channel, and original bed,
    From the beginning, hollowed out and scooped                1005
    For Man's affections--else betrayed and lost,
    And swallowed up 'mid deserts infinite!
    This is the genuine course, the aim, and end
    Of prescient reason; all conclusions else
    Are abject, vain, presumptuous, and perverse.               1010
    The faith partaking of those holy times,
    Life, I repeat, is energy of love
    Divine or human; exercised in pain,
    In strife, in tribulation; and ordained,
    If so approved and sanctified, to pass,                     1015
    Through shades and silent rest, to endless joy."[GZ]


[Footnote 417: 1836.

    _Sight of a large and populous Vale--Solitary consents to go
       forward--Vale described_--                                1814.

[Footnote 418: 1836.

    _The Church-yard_--                                          1814.

[Footnote 419: _Apology for the Rite_--

First inserted in the edition of 1836.]

[Footnote 420: 1836.

    _What sensations they excite_--                              1814.

[Footnote 421: 1827.

    And guardian rocks!--With unreverted eyes
    I cannot pass thy bounds, attractive Seat!                   1814.

[Footnote 422:

    Open, to ...                                                   MS.

[Footnote 423: 1836.

                              Upon the side
    Of that brown ridge, sole outlet of the Vale,
    Lingering                                                    1814.

    Of that brown Slope, ...                                     1827.

[Footnote 424: 1836.

    ... of a troubled World.
    And now, pursuing leisurely my way,
    How vain, thought I, it is by change of place                1814.

[Footnote 425: 1827.

    ... tenor ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 426: 1845.

    Obscurity, and calm forgetfulness.                           1814.

[Footnote 427: 1814.

    With ever-welcome ...                                        1827.

The text of 1836 returns to that of 1814.]

[Footnote 428: 1836.

    By ...                                                       1814.

[Footnote 429: 1845.

    From which the road ...                                      1814.

[Footnote 430: 1827.

    To that injunction, earnestly expressed,
    He yielded, ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 431: 1845.

    A popular equality doth seem
    Here to prevail; and yet a House of State
    Stands yonder, one beneath whose roof, methinks,
    A rural Lord might dwell." "No feudal pomp,"
    Replied our Friend, a Chronicler who stood
    Where'er he moved upon familiar ground,
    "Nor feudal power is there; but there abides,
    In his allotted Home a genuine Priest,                       1814.

    A popular equality reigns here
    Save for one House of State beneath whose roof
    A rural Lord ...                                             1827.

[Footnote 432: 1827.

    Under his spiritual sway, collected round him
    In this sequestered Realm. He hath vouchsafed                1814.

[Footnote 433: 1827.

    ... his ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 434: 1827.

    This good to reap, these pleasures to secure,
    Hither, ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 435: 1836.

    ... This deep vale
    Is lengthened out by many a winding reach,
    Not visible to us; and one of these
    A turretted manorial Hall adorns;
    In which the good Man's Ancestors have dwelt
    From age to age, the Patrons of this Cure.
    To them, and to his decorating hand,                         1814.

    To them, and to his own judicious hand,                        MS.

    ... This deep vale
    Winds far in reaches hidden from our eyes,                   1827.

[Footnote 436: 1827.

    ... in ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 437: 1836.

    ... halting, ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 438: 1827.

    Not framed to ...                                            1814.

    Nor shaped in ...                                              MS.

[Footnote 439: 1845.

    ... in some thick grove,                                     1814.

    ... mid some thick grove,                                    1827.

[Footnote 440: 1845.

    ... the chancel only shewed
    Some inoffensive marks of earthly state
    And vain distinction....                                     1814.

    The Chancel only shewed
    So privileged of yore, without offence
    To piety, some marks of earthly state
    And vain distinction,
    Allowed by ancient privilege; though in sooth
    With the pure sanctity the place should breathe
    But ill according. A capacious pew
    Of sculptured oak stood here, with drapery lined
    And curtained closely round. Obnoxious less
    To blame or unavoidable regret,
    A high fixed hatchment, time-discoloured, told
    Of man's mortality and its own decay.                           C.

    Some vain distinctions, an heraldic shield,
    In tincture varying as the sun might shine,
    Imbued its eastern window, and aloft
    A faded hatchment hung, and one by time
    Yet undiscoloured, marks of earthly state.                      C.

[Footnote 441: 1827.

    Upon the walls; ...                                          1814.

[Footnote 442: 1845.

    Without reluctance did we pay; and read                      1814.

    We paid to each with due respect,                               C.

[Footnote 443: 1827.

    ... and for this
    Yet more endeared to him, ...                                1814.

[Footnote 444: 1836.

    As unconcerned as when he plants a tree?                     1814.

[Footnote 445: 1836.

    ... by his voice                                             1814.

[Footnote 446: 1845.

    ... images and thoughts,
    And from the company of serious words.
    Much, yesterday, ...                                         1814.

    And from the company of serious words,
    Which then were silent; but crave utterance now.
    Much," he continued, with dejected looks,
    "Much, yesterday, ...                                        1836.

[Footnote 447: 1827.

    At its ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 448: 1836.

    With tiny fingers, ...                                       1814.

[Footnote 449: 1845.

    ... unblest ...                                              1814.

    ... humblest ...                                             1827.

[Footnote 450: 1827.

    ... tow'rds ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 451: 1836.

    ... doth a while sustain,                                    1814.

[Footnote 452: 1845.

    ... and ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 453: 1845.

    Whom the best might of Conscience, Truth, and Hope,          1814.

[Footnote 454: 1845.

    Foretelling total Winter, blank and cold.                    1814.

    Foretelling aged Winter's dreary sway.                       1840.

    Prelude to coming Winter's desolate sway.                       C.

[Footnote 455: 1827.

    ... adorn                                                    1814.

[Footnote 456: 1827.

    Do tend their flocks, These share Man's general lot          1814.

[Footnote 457: 1836.

    Perchance, guilt's heavier woes; and do not feel             1814.

[Footnote 458: 1827.

    ... tow'rds ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 459: 1836.

    Could have transferred him to his lonely House
    Within the circuit of those guardian rocks.                  1814.

[Footnote 460: 1836.

    ... gentler ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 461: 1827.

    ... full ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 462: 1836.

    Thus truth is missed, and comprehension fails;
    And darkness ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 463: 1836.

    ... and ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 464: 1827.

    ... or ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 465: 1820.

    ... forbidding ...                                           1814.

The texts of 1827 to 1843 and that of 1847 return to the text of 1814.]

[Footnote 466: 1836.

                                  ... or approached.
    Permit me," said the Priest continuing, "here
    To use an illustration of my thought,
    Drawn from the very spot on which we stand.
    --In changeful April, when, as he is wont,
    Winter has reassumed a short lived sway
    And whitened all the surface of the fields,
    If--from the sullen region of the North
    Towards the circuit of this holy ground
    Your walk conducts you, ere the vigorous sun,
    High climbing, hath attained his noon-tide height--
    These Mounds, ...                                            1814.

    Thus, when in changeful April snow has fallen,
    And fields are white, if from the sullen north
    Your walk conduct you hither, ere the Sun
    Hath gained his noontide height, this churchyard, filled
    With mounds ...                                              1827.

    ... ere vigorous sun                                           MS.

[Footnote 467: 1827.

    A dreary plain of unillumined snow,                          1814.

[Footnote 468: 1827.

    ... Go forward, and look back;
    On the same circuit of this church-yard ground
    Look, ...                                                    1814.

[Footnote 469: 1836.

    Hopeful and cheerful:--vanished is the snow,
    Vanished or hidden; ...                                      1814.

[Footnote 470: 1827.

    A ...                                                        1814.

[Footnote 471: 1827.

    And ...                                                      1814.

[Footnote 472: 1836.

    ... spade, and shepherd's simple crook,                      1814.

[Footnote 473: 1827.

    ... where You have long
    Held spiritual sway, have guided and consoled,
    And watched the outward course and inner heart.              1814.

[Footnote 474: Italics were first used in 1827.]

[Footnote 475: 1827.

    ... it ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 476: 1845.

    And on the bosom of the mountain dwell--                     1814.

[Footnote 477: 1836.

    ... above the chimney top;
    In shape, in size, and colour, an abode                      1814.

    ... above the chimney top:
    A rough abode--in colour, shape, and size,                   1827.

[Footnote 478: 1814.

    Few only in the scale of culture, hold
    Among my flock ...                                              C.

[Footnote 479: 1845.

    But humbleness of heart descends from heaven;                1814.

[Footnote 480: 1827.

    ... those ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 481: 1836.

    A lone way-faring Man, I once was brought.
    Dark on my road the autumnal evening fell
    While I was traversing yon mountain-pass,                    1814.

[Footnote 482: 1814.

    And with the night succeeded a thick gloom,                     C.

[Footnote 483: 1845.

    So that my feet and hands at length became                   1814.

[Footnote 484: 1827.

    Said I, ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 485: 1836.

    ... open ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 486: 1827.

    ... which the lofty Site,
    Far from all public road or beaten way
    And traversed only by a few faint paths,                     1814.

[Footnote 487: 1832.

    (Such chance is rare) detains him till the night
    Falls black upon the hills. "But come," she said,
    "Come let me lead you to our poor Abode.
    Behind those rocks it stands, as if it shunned,
    In churlishness, the eye of all mankind;
    But the few Guests who seek the door receive
    Most hearty welcome."-- ...                                  1814.

    Detains him after his accustomed hour
    When night lies black upon the hills. 'But come,             1827.

[Footnote 488: 1827.

    ... Before ...                                               1814.

[Footnote 489: 1845.

    But more was given; the eye, the mind, the heart,
    Found exercise in noting, as we sate
    By the bright fire, the good Man's face--composed
    Of features elegant; ...                                     1814.

    But more was given; I studied as we sate                     1827.

[Footnote 490: 1836.

    ... these ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 491: 1814.

    Sweetened for me our mutual good night
    Nor left me on a lonely pillow stretched
    Till slumber had given way to dreamless sleep.                  C.

[Footnote 492: 1814.

    ... God's ...                                                   C.

[Footnote 493: 1820.

    ... nor seldom ...                                           1814.

[Footnote 494: 1845.

    "--But, above all, my Thoughts are my support."
    The Matron ended-- ...                                       1814.

[Footnote 495: 1827.

    ... the ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 496: 1836.

    ... for ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 497: 1832.

    ... beneath ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 498: 1827.

    ... so plentiful, as mine!"
    See, in this well conditioned Soul, a Third
    To match with your good Couple that put forth
    Their homely graces on the mountain side.
    But ...                                                      1814.

[Footnote 499: 1832.

    ... could feelingly ...                                      1814.

[Footnote 500: 1845.

    ... mysteriously-consorted Pair                              1814.

[Footnote 501: 1814.

    ... and therewith                                               C.

[Footnote 502: 1845.

    ... is ...                                                   1814.

    ... yields ...                                               1836.

[Footnote 503: 1836.

    A rueful sight the wild shore strewn with wrecks
    And trod by people in afflicted quest
    Of friends and kindred, ...                                  1814.

[Footnote 504: 1836.

    Did lodge, in an appropriated spot,                          1814.

[Footnote 505: 1836.

    ... and others, who allowed                                  1814.

[Footnote 506: 1814.

    Are here deposited as the like shall be
    Through ages yet to come.                                       C.

[Footnote 507: 1827.

    ... framed to high ...                                       1814.

[Footnote 508: 1814.

    ... upward can ...                                              C.

[Footnote 509: 1836.

    ... and ...                                                  1814.


[Footnote FY: With this compare _The Prelude_, book i. line 463 (vol.
iii. p. 146)--

    Till all was tranquil as a dreamless sleep.

[Footnote FZ: The "semicirque of turf-clad ground," where the
conversations recorded in books iii. and iv. had been carried on.--ED.]

[Footnote GA: Towards Little Langdale.--ED.]

[Footnote GB: See Matthew Arnold's address as President of the Wordsworth
Society, in its _Transactions_ for the year 1883.--ED.]

[Footnote GC: The sledge used for bringing down peats or bracken from the
uplands. The "sledge" has not yet entirely given way to the "wheel," many
of the Westmoreland peasants still using it, when bringing down their
winter stores of fuel and bedding, as they do in Norway.--ED.]

[Footnote GD: The vale of Little Langdale.--ED.]

[Footnote GE: "After we quit his cottage, passing over a low ridge, we
descend into another vale, that of Little Langdale, towards the head
of which stands embowered, or partly shaded by yews and other trees,
something between a cottage and a mansion, or gentleman's house, such
as they once were in this country. This I convert into the parsonage,
and at the same time, and as by the waving of a magic wand, I turn the
comparatively confined vale of Langdale, its tarn, and the rude chapel
which once adorned the valley, into the stately and comparatively
spacious vale of Grasmere and its ancient parish church."--I. F.

The Fenwick note is not quite clear as to the relation of Hackett to
Blea Tarn Cottage. Dr. Cradock thinks that "Wordsworth meant that his
description of the cottage was borrowed from Hackett (which he frequently
visited), so far at least as the solitary clock, and the cottage stairs,
and the dark and low apartments were concerned."--ED.]

[Footnote GF: See the note on the previous page.--ED.]

[Footnote GG: Grasmere.--ED.]

[Footnote GH: Compare Lamb's remarks in reference to Harrow Church in a
letter to Wordsworth, August 14, 1814. See _Letters of Charles Lamb_,
edited by Canon Ainger, vol. i. p. 272.--ED.]

[Footnote GI: The details of this description apply in most particulars
to the Church at Grasmere, although some are probably borrowed from
Wordsworth's recollections of Hawkshead and of Bowness. The "naked
rafters intricately crossed," the "admonitory texts" inscribed on the

    Each, in its ornamental scroll, enclosed,

the "oaken benches," the "heraldic shield" in the "altar-window," the
"faded hatchment," the "marble monuments" and "sepulchral stones" with
"emblems graven and foot-worn epitaphs,"--all are there. Grasmere Church
was "for duration built," as Wordsworth puts it; and, however ill adapted
to the wants of modern ceremonial, it is to be hoped that all that is
most characteristic of the old edifice will be preserved; and that--while
no building can retain its original form for ever--its renovation will
not destroy what remains of that "rude and antique majesty," which
Wordsworth tells us had, even in 1843, been partially impaired.--ED.]

[Footnote GJ: Compare, in _Hamlet_, act v. scene i. l. 64--

Hamlet.--Has this fellow no feeling of his business? he sings at grave-making.

Horatio.--Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.

Hamlet.--'Tis e'en so: the hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.--ED.]

[Footnote GK: An oak now grows in the field a little to the east of the
churchyard wall, which cannot, however, be that to which Wordsworth
refers. Possibly an oak grew at that time beside the wall above the
Rothay. The wall is still "moss-grown."--ED.]

[Footnote GL: See the footnote on the previous page.--ED.]

[Footnote GM: Compare _Paradise Lost_, book i. l. 157--

                To be weak is miserable,
    Doing or suffering.                                            ED.

[Footnote GN: Compare Wordsworth's _Description of the Scenery of the
Lakes_, section 2. "To begin with the COTTAGES. They are scattered over
the vallies, and under the hill sides, and on the rocks; and, even to
this day, in the more retired dales, without any intrusion of more
assuming buildings;

    Clustered like stars some few, but single most,
    And lurking dimly in their shy retreats,
    Or glancing on each other cheerful looks,
    Like separated stars with clouds between.

The dwelling-houses, and contiguous outhouses, are, in many instances,
of the colour of the native rock, out of which they have been built....
These humble dwellings remind the contemplative spectator of a production
of nature, and may (using a strong expression) rather be said to have
grown than to have been erected;--to have risen, by an instinct of their
own, out of the native rock--so little is there in them of formality,
such is their wildness and beauty! Among the numerous recesses and
projections in the walls and in the different stages of their roofs, are
seen bold and harmonious effects of contrasted sunshine and shadow....
These dwellings, mostly built, as has been said, of rough unhewn stone,
are roofed with slates ... rough and uneven in their surfaces, so that
both the coverings and sides of the houses have furnished places of rest
for the seeds of lichens, mosses, ferns, and flowers. Hence buildings,
which, in their very form call to mind the processes of nature, do thus,
clothed with this vegetable garb, appear to be received into the bosom of
the living principle of things, as it acts and exists among the woods and

Compare also Gray's description of the Vale of Grasmere in his
Journal:--"Not a single red tile, nor flaring gentleman's house, or
garden-wall, breaks in upon the repose of this little unsuspected
paradise; but all is peace, rusticity, and happy poverty, in its neatest
and most becoming attire."--ED.]

[Footnote GO: "To illustrate the relation which in my mind this Pastor
bore to the Wanderer, and the resemblances between them, or rather the
points of community in their nature, I likened one to an oak, and the
other to a sycamore; and having here referred to this comparison, I
need only add, I had no one individual in my mind, wishing rather to
embody this idea than to break in upon the simplicity of it by traits of
individual character, or of any peculiarity of opinion."--I. F.

The sycamore is the favourite tree at the Mountain Farms of Cumberland
and Westmoreland, as it affords the best shelter from rain, and the most
thorough protection from the heat of the sun, during sheep-shearing. A
special feature of the valley as you go down Langdale from Blea Tarn,
is the abundance of sycamore; some of the farm-houses are literally
_embowered_ by it.--ED.]

[Footnote GP: The group of meditative talkers are supposed to be seated
on the moss-grown wall to the east of the Churchyard, facing Silver

[Footnote GQ: Possibly at Dale End, Grasmere.--ED.]

[Footnote GR: Probably the Wyke, Sarah Mackereth's Cottage.--ED.]

[Footnote GS: See Wordsworth's note, p. 388.--ED.]

[Footnote GT: Silver How is the only "dark mountain" visible to the west
from the moss-grown seat in the Grasmere Churchyard; but here again the
realism of the narrative gives way, and not Silver How but Lingmoor is
described, with Hackett Cottage at its south-eastern foot. The Fenwick
note is here explicit. "First for the one picture given by the Wanderer
of the living. In this nothing is introduced but what was taken from
nature and real life. The cottage was called Hackett, and stands, as
described, on the southern extremity of the ridge which separates the
two Langdales. The pair who inhabited it were called Jonathan and Betty
Yewdale." Later on, in book vi. p. 250, Wordsworth describes the blue
roofs of Hawkshead village as ornamenting

                            a distant reach
    _Of this far-winding vale_.

Unless, therefore, he is speaking in the vague, Hackett and not Grasmere
is the place described. The Fenwick note to the _Epistle to Sir George
Beaumont_, however, decides the question (see vol. iv. p. 256). "The
house (Hackett) and its inmates are referred to in the fifth book of _The
Excursion_, in the passage beginning--

                              You behold,
    High on the breast of yon dark mountain, dark."                ED.

[Footnote GU: Compare the Sonnet (of 1815) referring to Allan Bank,

    Even as a dragon's eye that feels the stress
    Of a bedimming sleep, or as a lamp
    Suddenly glaring through sepulchral damp,
    So burns yon Taper 'mid a black recess
    Of mountains, silent, dreary, motionless, etc.                 ED.

[Footnote GV: Compare the Sonnet (of 1815) beginning--

    The fairest, brightest, hues of ether fade,

and more especially the Fenwick note, prefixed to that sonnet.--ED.]

[Footnote GW: This feminine complexion of the Cumbrian peasants who work
in the higher mines, is probably in part due to the continual mists and
moisture of the heights. It has been observed especially amongst the
workers in the high slate quarries at Walna Scar.--ED.]

[Footnote GX: In a note to the edition of 1814, Wordsworth added to the
above quotation _Southey's Retrospect_. See p. 388 of this volume.]

[Footnote GY: In 1814 Wordsworth added to this line a prefatory note to
his _Essay upon Epitaphs_, and the _Essay_ itself, for which see _The
Prose Works_.]

[Footnote GZ: On the 1st of August 1849, during the last year of the
poet's life, he transcribed the five lines beginning--

    Life, I repeat, is energy of love

on a presentation copy of his works, sent to Thomas Gough. It was one of
the last things he ever wrote.--ED.]

Book Sixth



_Poet's Address to the State and Church of England--The Pastor
not inferior to the ancient Worthies of the Church--He begins his
Narratives with an instance of unrequited Love--Anguish of mind
subdued, and how--The lonely Miner--An instance of perseverance--Which
leads by contrast to an example of abused talents, irresolution, and
weakness--Solitary, applying this covertly to his own case, asks for an
instance of some Stranger, whose dispositions may have led him to end
his days here--Pastor, in answer, gives an account of the harmonising
influence of Solitude upon two men of opposite principles, who had
encountered agitations in public life--The rule by which Peace may
be obtained expressed, and where--Solitary hints at an overpowering
Fatality--Answer of the Pastor--What subjects he will exclude from his
Narratives--Conversation upon this--Instance of an unamiable character,
a Female, and why given--Contrasted with this, a meek sufferer, from
unguarded and betrayed love--Instance of heavier guilt, and its
consequences to the Offender--With this instance of a Marriage Contract
broken is contrasted one of a Widower, evidencing his faithful affection
towards his deceased wife by his care of their female Children._[510]

    Hail to the crown by Freedom shaped--to gird
    An English Sovereign's brow! and to the throne
    Whereon he sits! Whose deep foundations lie
    In veneration and the people's love;
    Whose steps are equity, whose seat is law.                     5
    --Hail to the State of England! And conjoin
    With this a salutation as devout,
    Made to the spiritual fabric of her Church;
    Founded in truth; by blood of Martyrdom
    Cemented; by the hands of Wisdom reared                       10
    In beauty of holiness, with ordered pomp,
    Decent and unreproved. The voice, that greets
    The majesty of both, shall pray for both;
    That, mutually protected and sustained,[HA]
    They may endure long as the sea[511] surrounds                15
    This favoured Land, or sunshine warms her soil.

      And O, ye swelling hills, and spacious plains!
    Besprent from shore to shore with steeple-towers,
    And spires whose 'silent finger points to heaven;'[HB]
    Nor wanting, at wide intervals, the bulk                      20
    Of ancient minster lifted above the cloud
    Of the dense air, which town or city breeds
    To intercept the sun's glad beams--may ne'er
    That true succession fail of English hearts,
    Who, with ancestral feeling, can perceive[512]                25
    What in those holy structures ye possess
    Of ornamental interest, and the charm
    Of pious sentiment diffused afar,
    And human charity, and social love.
    --Thus never shall the indignities of time                    30
    Approach their reverend graces, unopposed;
    Nor shall the elements be free to hurt
    Their fair proportions; nor the blinder rage
    Of bigot zeal madly to overturn;
    And, if the desolating hand of war                            35
    Spare them, they shall continue to bestow,
    Upon the thronged abodes of busy men
    (Depraved, and ever prone to fill the mind[513]
    Exclusively with transitory things)
    An air and mien of dignified pursuit;                         40
    Of sweet civility, on rustic wilds.

      The Poet, fostering for his native land
    Such hope, entreats that servants may abound
    Of those pure altars worthy; ministers
    Detached from pleasure, to the love of gain                   45
    Superior, insusceptible of pride,
    And by ambitious[514] longings undisturbed;
    Men, whose delight is where their duty leads
    Or fixes them; whose least distinguished day
    Shines with some portion of that heavenly lustre              50
    Which makes the sabbath lovely in the sight
    Of blessed angels, pitying human cares.
    --And, as on earth it is the doom of truth
    To be perpetually attacked by foes
    Open or covert, be that priesthood still,                     55
    For her defence, replenished with a band
    Of strenuous champions, in scholastic arts
    Thoroughly disciplined; nor (if in course
    Of the revolving world's disturbances
    Cause should recur, which righteous Heaven avert!
    To meet such trial) from their spiritual sires                61
    Degenerate; who, constrained to wield the sword
    Of disputation, shrunk not, though assailed
    With hostile din, and combating in sight
    Of angry umpires, partial and unjust;                         65
    And did, thereafter, bathe their hands in fire,[HC]
    So to declare the conscience satisfied:
    Nor for their bodies would accept release;
    But, blessing God and praising him, bequeathed                69
    With their last breath, from out the smouldering flame,
    The faith which they by diligence had earned,
    Or,[515] through illuminating grace, received,
    For their dear countrymen, and all mankind.
    O high example, constancy divine!

      Even such a Man (inheriting the zeal                        75
    And from the sanctity of elder times
    Not deviating,--a priest, the like of whom,
    If multiplied, and in their stations set,
    Would o'er the bosom of a joyful land
    Spread true religion and her genuine fruits)                  80
    Before me stood that day; on holy ground
    Fraught with the relics of mortality,
    Exalting tender themes, by just degrees
    To lofty raised; and to the highest, last;
    The head and mighty paramount of truths,--                    85
    Immortal life, in never-fading worlds,
    For mortal creatures, conquered and secured.

      That basis laid, those principles of faith
    Announced, as a preparatory act
    Of reverence done to the spirit of the place,[516]            90
    The Pastor cast his eyes upon the ground;
    Not, as before, like one oppressed with awe,
    But with a mild and social cheerfulness;
    Then to the Solitary turned, and spake.

      "At morn or eve, in your retired domain,                    95
    Perchance you not unfrequently have marked
    A Visitor--in quest of herbs and flowers;[517]
    Too delicate employ, as would appear,
    For one, who, though of drooping mien, had yet
    From nature's kindliness received a frame                    100
    Robust as ever rural labour bred."

      The Solitary answered: "Such a Form
    Full well I recollect. We often crossed
    Each other's path; but, as the Intruder seemed
    Fondly to prize the silence which he kept,                   105
    And I as willingly did cherish mine,
    We met, and passed, like shadows. I have heard,
    From my good Host, that being crazed in brain
    By unrequited love, he scaled the rocks,[518]
    Dived into caves, and pierced the matted woods,              110
    In hope to find some virtuous herb of power
    To cure his malady!"
                          The Vicar smiled,--
    "Alas! before to-morrow's sun goes down
    His habitation will be here: for him
    That open grave is destined."[HD]
                                      "Died he then
    Of pain and grief?" the Solitary asked,                      116
    "Do not believe it; never could that be!"[519]

      "He loved," the Vicar answered, "deeply loved,
    Loved fondly, truly, fervently; and dared
    At length to tell his love, but sued in vain;[520]           120
    Rejected, yea repelled; and, if with scorn
    Upon the haughty maiden's brow, 'tis but
    A high-prized plume which female Beauty wears
    In wantonness of conquest, or puts on
    To cheat the world, or from herself to hide                  125
    Humiliation, when no longer free,
    _That_ he could brook,[521] and glory in;--but when
    The tidings came that she whom he had wooed
    Was wedded to another, and his heart
    Was forced to rend away its only hope;                       130
    Then, Pity could have scarcely found on earth
    An object worthier of regard than he,
    In the transition of that bitter hour!
    Lost was she, lost; nor could the Sufferer say
    That in the act of preference he had been                    135
    Unjustly dealt with; but the Maid was gone!
    Had vanished[522] from his prospects and desires;
    Not by translation to the heavenly choir
    Who have put off their mortal spoils--ah no!
    She lives another's wishes to complete,--                    140
    'Joy be their lot, and happiness,' he cried,
    'His lot and hers, as misery must be mine!'[523]

    "Such was that strong concussion; but the Man,
    Who trembled, trunk and limbs, like some huge oak
    By a fierce tempest shaken, soon resumed                     145
    The stedfast quiet natural to a mind
    Of composition gentle and sedate,
    And, in its movements, circumspect and slow.
    To books, and to the long-forsaken desk,
    O'er which enchained by science he had loved                 150
    To bend, he stoutly re-addressed himself,
    Resolved to quell his pain, and search for truth[524]
    With keener appetite (if that might be)
    And closer industry. Of what ensued
    Within the heart[525] no outward sign appeared               155
    Till a betraying sickliness was seen
    To tinge his cheek; and through his frame it crept
    With slow mutation unconcealable;
    Such universal change as autumn makes
    In the fair body of a leafy grove                            160
    Discoloured, then divested.
                                "'Tis affirmed
    By poets skilled in nature's secret ways
    That Love will not submit to be controlled
    By mastery:--and the good Man lacked not friends
    Who strove to instil this truth into his mind,               165
    A mind in all heart-mysteries unversed.
    'Go to the hills,' said one, 'remit a while
    'This baneful diligence:--at early morn
    'Court the fresh air, explore the heaths and woods;
    'And, leaving it to others to foretell,                      170
    'By calculations sage, the ebb and flow
    'Of tides, and when the moon will be eclipsed,
    'Do you, for your own benefit, construct
    'A calendar of flowers, plucked as they blow
    'Where health abides, and cheerfulness, and peace.'          175
    The attempt was made;--'tis needless to report
    How hopelessly; but innocence is strong,
    And an entire simplicity of mind
    A thing most sacred in the eye of Heaven;
    That opens, for such sufferers, relief                       180
    Within the soul, fountains of grace divine;[526]
    And doth commend their weakness and disease
    To Nature's care, assisted in her office
    By all the elements that round her wait
    To generate, to preserve, and to restore;                    185
    And by her beautiful array of forms
    Shedding sweet influence from above; or pure
    Delight exhaling from the ground they tread."

      "Impute it not to impatience, if," exclaimed
    The Wanderer, "I infer that he was healed                    190
    By perseverance in the course prescribed."

      "You do not err: the powers, that[527] had been lost
    By slow degrees, were gradually regained;
    The fluttering nerves composed; the beating heart
    In rest established; and the jarring thoughts                195
    To harmony restored.--But yon dark mould
    Will cover him, in the fulness of his strength,[528]
    Hastily smitten by a fever's force;
    Yet not with stroke so sudden as refused
    Time to look back with tenderness on her                     200
    Whom he had loved in passion; and to send
    Some farewell words--with one, but one, request;[529]
    That, from his dying hand, she would accept
    Of his possessions that which most he prized;
    A book, upon whose leaves some chosen plants,                205
    By his own hand disposed with nicest care,[530]
    In undecaying beauty were preserved;[HE]
    Mute register, to him, of time and place,
    And various fluctuations in the breast;
    To her, a monument of faithful love                          210
    Conquered, and in tranquillity retained!

      "Close to his destined habitation, lies
    One who achieved a humbler victory,
    Though marvellous in its kind. A place there is[531]
    High in these mountains, that allured a band                 215
    Of keen adventurers to unite their pains
    In search of precious ore: they tried, were foiled--[532]
    And all desisted, all, save him alone.
    He,[533] taking counsel of his own clear thoughts,
    And trusting only to his own weak hands,                     220
    Urged unremittingly the stubborn work,
    Unseconded, uncountenanced; then, as time
    Passed on, while still his lonely efforts found
    No recompense, derided; and at length,
    By many pitied, as insane of mind;                           225
    By others dreaded as the luckless thrall
    Of subterranean Spirits feeding hope
    By various mockery of sight and sound;
    Hope after hope, encouraged and destroyed.
    --But when the lord of seasons had matured                   230
    The fruits of earth through space of twice ten years,
    The mountain's entrails offered to his view
    And trembling grasp the long-deferred reward.[534]
    Not with more transport did Columbus greet
    A world, his rich discovery![HF] But our Swain,              235
    A very hero till his point was gained,
    Proved all unable to support the weight
    Of prosperous fortune. On the fields he looked
    With an unsettled liberty of thought,
    Wishes and endless schemes; by daylight walked[535]
    Giddy and restless; ever and anon                            241
    Quaffed in his gratitude immoderate cups;
    And truly might be said to die of joy!
    He vanished; but conspicuous to this day
    The path remains that linked his cottage-door                245
    To the mine's mouth; a long and slanting track,
    Upon the rugged mountain's stony side,
    Worn by his daily visits to and from
    The darksome centre of a constant hope.
    This vestige, neither force of beating rain,                 250
    Nor the vicissitudes of frost and thaw
    Shall cause to fade, till ages pass away;
    And it is named, in memory of the event,
                                   "Thou from whom
    Man has his strength," exclaimed the Wanderer, "oh!
    Do thou direct it! To the virtuous grant                     256
    The penetrative eye which can perceive
    In this blind world the guiding vein of hope;
    That, like this Labourer, such may dig their way,
    'Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified;'[HG]                      260
    Grant to the wise _his_ firmness of resolve!"

      "That prayer were not superfluous," said the Priest,
    "Amid the noblest relics, proudest dust,
    That Westminster, for Britain's glory, holds
    Within the bosom of her awful pile,                          265
    Ambitiously collected. Yet the sigh,
    Which wafts that prayer to heaven, is due to all,
    Wherever laid, who living fell below
    Their virtue's humbler mark; a sigh of _pain_
    If to the opposite extreme they sank.                        270
    How would you pity her who yonder rests;
    Him, farther off; the pair, who here are laid;
    But, above all, that mixture of earth's mould[HH]
    Whom sight of this green hillock to my mind
             "_He_ lived not till his locks were nipped          275
    By seasonable frost of age; nor died
    Before his temples, prematurely forced
    To mix the manly brown with silver grey,
    Gave obvious instance of the sad effect
    Produced, when thoughtless Folly hath usurped                280
    The natural crown that[536] sage Experience wears.
    Gay, volatile, ingenious, quick to learn,
    And prompt to exhibit all that he possessed
    Or could perform; a zealous actor, hired
    Into the troop of mirth, a soldier, sworn                    285
    Into the lists of giddy enterprise--
    Such was he;[HI] yet, as if within his frame
    Two several souls alternately had lodged,
    Two sets of manners could the Youth put on;
    And, fraught with antics as the Indian bird                  290
    That writhes and chatters in her wiry cage,
    Was graceful, when it pleased him, smooth and still
    As the mute swan that floats adown the stream,
    Or, on the waters of the unruffled lake,
    Anchors her placid beauty. Not a leaf,                       295
    That flutters on the bough, lighter than he;[537]
    And not a flower, that droops in the green shade,
    More winningly reserved! If ye enquire
    How such consummate elegance was bred
    Amid these wilds, this answer may suffice;                   300
    'Twas Nature's will;[538] who sometimes undertakes,
    For the reproof of human vanity,
    Art to outstrip in her peculiar walk.
    Hence, for this Favourite--lavishly endowed
    With personal gifts, and bright instinctive wit,             305
    While both, embellishing each other, stood
    Yet farther recommended by the charm
    Of fine demeanour, and by dance and song,
    And skill in letters--every fancy shaped
    Fair expectations; nor, when to the world's                  310
    Capacious field forth went the Adventurer, there
    Were he and his attainments overlooked,
    Or scantily rewarded; but all hopes,
    Cherished for him, he suffered to depart,
    Like blighted buds; or clouds that mimicked land             315
    Before the sailor's eye; or diamond drops
    That sparkling decked the morning grass; or aught
    That _was_ attractive, and hath ceased to be!

      "Yet, when this Prodigal returned, the rites
    Of joyful greeting were on him bestowed,                     320
    Who, by humiliation undeterred,
    Sought for his weariness a place of rest
    Within his Father's gates.--Whence came he?--clothed
    In tattered garb, from hovels where abides
    Necessity, the stationary host                               325
    Of vagrant poverty; from rifted barns
    Where no one dwells but the wide-staring owl
    And the owl's prey; from these bare haunts, to which[539]
    He had descended from the proud saloon,
    He came, the ghost of beauty and of health,                  330
    The wreck of gaiety! But soon revived
    In strength, in power refitted, he renewed
    His suit to Fortune; and she smiled again
    Upon a fickle Ingrate. Thrice he rose,
    Thrice sank[540] as willingly. For he--whose nerves          335
    Were used to thrill with pleasure, while his voice
    Softly accompanied the tuneful harp,
    By the nice finger of fair ladies touched
    In glittering halls--was able to derive
    No[541] less enjoyment from an abject choice.                340
    Who happier for the moment--who more blithe
    Than this fallen Spirit? in those dreary holds
    His talents lending to exalt the freaks
    Of merry-making beggars,--now, provoked
    To laughter multiplied in louder peals                       345
    By his malicious wit; then, all enchained
    With mute astonishment, themselves to see
    In their own arts outdone, their fame eclipsed,
    As by the very presence of the Fiend
    Who dictates and inspires illusive feats,                    350
    For knavish purposes! The city, too,
    (With shame I speak it) to her guilty bowers
    Allured him, sunk so low in self-respect
    As there to linger, there to eat his bread,
    Hired minstrel of voluptuous blandishment;                   355
    Charming the air with skill of hand or voice,
    Listen who would, be wrought upon who might,
    Sincerely wretched hearts, or falsely gay.
    --Such the too frequent tenour of his boast[542]
    In ears that relished the report;--but all                   360
    Was from his Parents happily concealed;
    Who saw enough for blame and pitying love.
    They also were permitted to receive
    His last, repentant breath; and closed his eyes,
    No more to open on that irksome world                        365
    Where he had long existed in the state
    Of a young fowl beneath one mother hatched,
    Though from another sprung, different in kind:[543]
    Where he had lived, and could not cease to live,
    Distracted in propensity; content                            370
    With neither element of good or ill;
    And yet in both rejoicing; man unblest;
    Of contradictions infinite the slave,
    Till his deliverance, when Mercy made him
    One with himself, and one with them that sleep."[544]        375

      "'Tis strange," observed the Solitary, "strange
    It seems, and scarcely less than pitiful,
    That in a land where charity provides
    For all that[545] can no longer feed themselves,
    A man like this should choose to bring his shame             380
    To the parental door; and with his sighs
    Infect the air which he had freely breathed
    In happy infancy. He could not pine,
    Through lack of converse;[546] no--he must have found
    Abundant exercise for thought and speech,                    385
    In his dividual being, self-reviewed,
    Self-catechised, self-punished.--Some there are
    Who, drawing near their final home, and much
    And daily longing that the same were reached,
    Would rather shun than seek the fellowship                   390
    Of kindred mould.--Such haply here are laid?"

      "Yes," said the Priest, "the Genius of our hills--
    Who seems, by these stupendous barriers cast
    Round his domain, desirous not alone
    To keep his own, but also to exclude                         395
    All other progeny--doth sometimes lure,
    Even by his[547] studied depth of privacy,
    The unhappy alien hoping to obtain
    Concealment, or seduced by wish to find,
    In place from outward molestation free,                      400
    Helps to internal ease. Of many such
    Could I discourse; but as their stay was brief,
    So their departure only left behind
    Fancies, and loose conjectures. Other trace
    Survives, for worthy mention, of a pair                      405
    Who, from the pressure of their several fates,
    Meeting as strangers, in a petty town[HJ]
    Whose blue roofs ornament a distant reach
    Of this far-winding vale,[HJ] remained as friends            409
    True to their choice; and gave their bones in trust
    To this loved cemetery, here to lodge
    With unescutcheoned privacy interred
    Far from the family vault.--A Chieftain one[HK]
    By right of birth; within whose spotless breast
    The fire of ancient Caledonia burned:                        415
    He, with the foremost whose impatience hailed
    The Stuart, landing to resume, by force
    Of arms, the crown which bigotry had lost,
    Aroused his clan; and, fighting at their head,
    With his brave sword endeavoured to prevent                  420
    Culloden's fatal overthrow. Escaped
    From that disastrous rout, to foreign shores
    He fled; and when the lenient hand of time
    Those troubles had appeased, he sought and gained,
    For his obscured condition, an obscure                       425
    Retreat, within this nook of English ground.

      "The other, born in Britain's southern tract,
    Had fixed his milder loyalty, and placed
    His gentler sentiments of love and hate,
    There, where _they_ placed them who in conscience prized
    The new succession, as a line of kings                       431
    Whose oath had virtue to protect the land
    Against the dire assaults of papacy
    And arbitrary rule. But launch thy bark
    On the distempered flood of public life,                     435
    And cause for most rare triumph will be thine
    If, spite of keenest eye and steadiest hand,
    The stream, that bears thee forward, prove not, soon
    Or late, a perilous master. He--who oft,
    Beneath[548] the battlements and stately trees               440
    That round his mansion cast a sober gloom,
    Had moralised on this, and other truths
    Of kindred import, pleased and satisfied--
    Was forced to vent his wisdom with a sigh
    Heaved from the heart in fortune's bitterness,               445
    When he had crushed a plentiful estate
    By ruinous contest, to obtain a seat
    In Britain's senate. Fruitless was the attempt:
    And while the uproar of that desperate strife
    Continued yet to vibrate on his ear,                         450
    The vanquished Whig,[HL] under a borrowed name,[549]
    (For the mere sound and echo of his own
    Haunted him with sensations of disgust
    That[550] he was glad to lose) slunk from the world
    To the deep shade of those[551] untravelled Wilds;           455
    In which the Scottish Laird had long possessed
    An undisturbed abode. Here, then, they met,
    Two doughty champions; flaming Jacobite
    And sullen Hanoverian! You might think
    That losses and vexations, less severe                       460
    Than those which they had severally sustained,
    Would have inclined each to abate his zeal
    For his ungrateful cause; no,--I have heard
    My reverend Father tell that, 'mid the calm
    Of that small town encountering thus, they filled,           465
    Daily, its bowling-green with harmless strife;
    Plagued with uncharitable thoughts the church;
    And vexed the market-place. But in the breasts
    Of these opponents gradually was wrought,
    With little change of general sentiment,                     470
    Such leaning towards[552] each other, that their days
    By choice were spent in constant fellowship;
    And if, at times, they fretted with the yoke,
    Those very bickerings made them love it more.                474

      "A favourite boundary to their lengthened walks
    This Church-yard was. And, whether they had come
    Treading their path in sympathy and linked
    In social converse, or by some short space
    Discreetly parted to preserve the peace,
    One spirit seldom failed to extend its sway                  480
    Over both minds, when they awhile had marked
    The visible quiet of this holy ground,
    And breathed its soothing air;--the spirit of hope
    And saintly magnanimity; that--spurning
    The field of selfish difference and dispute,                 485
    And every care which transitory things,
    Earth and the kingdoms of the earth, create--
    Doth, by a rapture of forgetfulness,
    Preclude forgiveness, from the praise debarred,
    Which else the Christian virtue might have claimed.          490

      "There live who yet remember here to have seen
    Their courtly figures, seated on the stump
    Of an old yew, their favourite resting-place.
    But as the remnant of the long-lived tree
    Was disappearing by a swift decay,                           495
    They, with joint care, determined to erect,
    Upon its site, a dial,[HM] that might stand
    For public use preserved, and thus survive[553]
    As their own private monument: for this
    Was the particular spot, in which they wished                500
    (And Heaven was pleased to accomplish the desire)
    That, undivided, their remains should lie.
    So, where the mouldered tree had stood, was raised
    Yon structure, framing, with the ascent of steps
    That to the decorated pillar[HN] lead,                       505
    A work of art more sumptuous than might seem
    To suit this place;[554] yet built in no proud scorn
    Of rustic homeliness; they only aimed
    To ensure for it respectful guardianship.
    Around the margin of the plate, whereon                      510
    The shadow falls to note the stealthy hours,
    Winds an inscriptive legend."--At these words
    Thither we turned; and gathered, as we read,
    The appropriate sense, in Latin numbers couched:
    '_Time flies; it is his melancholy task                      515
    To bring, and bear away, delusive hopes,
    And re-produce the troubles he destroys.
    But, while his blindness thus is occupied,
    Discerning Mortal! do thou serve the will
    Of Time's eternal Master, and that peace,                    520
    Which the world wants, shall be for thee confirmed!_'[555]

      "Smooth verse, inspired by no unlettered Muse,"
    Exclaimed the Sceptic, "and the strain of thought
    Accords with nature's language;--the soft voice
    Of yon white torrent falling down the rocks[HO]              525
    Speaks, less distinctly, to the same effect.
    If, then, their blended influence be not lost
    Upon our hearts, not wholly lost, I grant,
    Even upon mine, the more are we required
    To feel for those among our fellow-men,                      530
    Who, offering no obeisance to the world,
    Are yet made desperate by 'too quick a sense
    Of constant infelicity,'[HP] cut off
    From peace like exiles on some barren rock,
    Their life's appointed prison; not more free                 535
    Than sentinels, between two armies, set,
    With nothing better, in the chill night air,
    Than their own thoughts to comfort them. Say why
    That ancient story of Prometheus[HQ] chained
    To the bare rock, on frozen Caucasus;                        540
    The vulture,[556] the inexhaustible repast
    Drawn from his vitals? Say what meant the woes
    By Tantalus[HR] entailed upon his race,
    And the dark sorrows of the line of Thebes?[HS]
    Fictions in form, but in their substance truths,             545
    Tremendous truths! familiar to the men
    Of long-past times, nor obsolete in ours.
    Exchange the shepherd's frock of native grey
    For robes with regal purple tinged; convert
    The crook into a sceptre; give the pomp                      550
    Of circumstance; and here the tragic Muse
    Shall find apt subjects for her highest art.
    Amid the groves, under the shadowy hills,[557]
    The generations are prepared; the pangs,
    The internal pangs, are ready; the dread strife              555
    Of poor humanity's afflicted will
    Struggling in vain with ruthless destiny."

      "Though," said the Priest in answer, "these be terms
    Which a divine philosophy rejects,
    We, whose established and unfailing trust                    560
    Is in controlling Providence, admit
    That, through all stations, human life abounds
    With mysteries;--for, if Faith were left untried,
    How could the might, that lurks within her, then
    Be shown? her glorious excellence--that ranks                565
    Among the first of Powers and Virtues--proved?
    Our system is not fashioned to preclude
    That sympathy which you for others ask;
    And I could tell, not travelling for my theme
    Beyond these humble graves, of grievous crimes               570
    And strange disasters;[558] but I pass them by,
    Loth to disturb what Heaven hath hushed in peace.
    --Still less, far less, am I inclined to treat
    Of Man degraded in his Maker's sight
    By the deformities of brutish vice:                          575
    For, in such portraits, though a vulgar face[559]
    And a coarse outside of repulsive life
    And unaffecting manners might at once[560]
    Be recognised by all--" "Ah! do not think,"
    The Wanderer somewhat eagerly exclaimed,                     580
    "Wish could be ours that you, for such poor gain,
    (Gain shall I call it?--gain of what?--for whom?)
    Should breathe a word tending to violate
    Your own pure spirit. Not a step we look for
    In slight of that forbearance and reserve                    585
    Which common human-heartedness inspires,
    And mortal ignorance and frailty claim,
    Upon this sacred ground, if nowhere else."

      "True," said the Solitary, "be it far
    From us to infringe the laws of charity.                     590
    Let judgment here in mercy be pronounced;
    This, self-respecting Nature prompts, and this
    Wisdom enjoins; but if the thing we seek
    Be genuine knowledge, bear we then in mind
    How, from his lofty throne, the sun can fling                595
    Colours as bright on exhalations bred
    By weedy pool or pestilential swamp,
    As by the rivulet sparkling where it runs,
    Or the pellucid lake."
                            "Small risk," said I,
    "Of such illusion do we here incur;                          600
    Temptation here is none to exceed the truth;
    No evidence appears that they who rest
    Within this ground, were covetous of praise,
    Or of remembrance even, deserved or not.
    Green is the Church-yard, beautiful and green,               605
    Ridge rising gently by the side of ridge,
    A heaving surface, almost wholly free
    From interruption of sepulchral stones,
    And mantled o'er with aboriginal turf
    And everlasting flowers.[HT] These Dalesmen trust            610
    The lingering gleam of their departed lives
    To oral record,[561] and the silent heart;
    Depositories[562] faithful and more kind
    Than fondest epitaph: for, if those fail,[563]
    What boots the sculptured tomb? And who can blame,
    Who rather would not envy, men that feel                     616
    This mutual confidence; if, from such source,
    The practice flow,--if thence, or from a deep
    And general humility in death?
    Nor should I much condemn it, if it spring                   620
    From disregard of time's destructive power,
    As only capable to prey on things
    Of earth, and human nature's mortal part.

      "Yet--in less simple districts, where we see
    Stone lift its forehead emulous of stone[HU]                 625
    In courting notice; and the ground all paved
    With commendations of departed worth;
    Reading, where'er we turn, of innocent lives,
    Of each domestic charity fulfilled,
    And sufferings meekly borne--I, for my part,                 630
    Though with the silence pleased that[564] here prevails,
    Among those fair recitals also range,
    Soothed by the natural spirit which they breathe.
    And, in the centre of a world whose soil
    Is rank with all unkindness, compassed round                 635
    With such memorials, I have sometimes felt,
    It was[565] no momentary happiness
    To have _one_ Enclosure where the voice that speaks
    In envy or detraction is not heard;
    Which malice may not enter; where the traces                 640
    Of evil inclinations are unknown;
    Where love and pity tenderly unite
    With resignation; and no jarring tone
    Intrudes, the peaceful concert to disturb
    Of amity and gratitude."
                              "Thus sanctioned,"                 645
    The Pastor said, "I willingly confine
    My narratives to subjects that excite
    Feelings with these accordant; love, esteem,
    And admiration; lifting up a veil,
    A sunbeam introducing among hearts                           650
    Retired and covert; so that ye shall have
    Clear images before your gladdened eyes
    Of nature's unambitious underwood,
    And flowers that prosper in the shade. And when
    I speak of such among my flock as swerved                    655
    Or fell, those only shall be singled out[566]
    Upon whose lapse, or error, something more
    Than brotherly forgiveness may attend;
    To such will we restrict our notice, else
    Better my tongue were mute.
                                "And yet there are,              660
    I feel, good reasons why we should not leave
    Wholly untraced a more forbidding way.
    For, strength to persevere and to support,
    And energy to conquer and repel--
    These elements of virtue, that declare                       665
    The native grandeur of the human soul--
    Are oft-times not unprofitably shown
    In the perverseness of a selfish course:
    Truth every day exemplified, no less
    In the grey cottage by the murmuring stream                  670
    Than in[567] fantastic conqueror's roving camp,
    Or 'mid[568] the factious senate unappalled
    Whoe'er may sink, or rise--to sink again,[569]
    As[570] merciless proscription ebbs and flows.

      "There," said the Vicar, pointing as he spake,             675
    "A woman rests in peace; surpassed by few
    In power of mind, and eloquent discourse.
    Tall was her stature; her complexion dark
    And saturnine;[HV] her head not raised to hold[571]          679
    Converse with heaven, nor yet deprest towards earth,
    But in projection carried, as she walked
    For ever musing. Sunken were her eyes;
    Wrinkled and furrowed with habitual thought
    Was her broad forehead; like the brow of one
    Whose visual nerve shrinks from a painful glare              685
    Of overpowering light.--While yet a child,
    She, 'mid the humble flowerets of the vale,
    Towered like the imperial thistle, not unfurnished
    With its appropriate grace, yet rather seeking[572]
    To be admired, than coveted and loved.                       690
    Even at that age she ruled, a sovereign queen,
    Over her comrades;[573] else their simple sports,
    Wanting all relish for her strenuous mind,
    Had crossed her only to be shunned with scorn.[574]
    --Oh! pang of sorrowful regret for those[575]                695
    Whom, in their youth, sweet study has enthralled,
    That they have lived for harsher servitude,
    Whether in soul, in body, or estate!
    Such doom was hers; yet nothing could subdue
    Her keen desire of knowledge, nor efface[576]                700
    Those brighter images by books imprest
    Upon her memory, faithfully as stars
    That occupy their places, and, though oft
    Hidden by clouds, and oft bedimmed by haze,
    Are not to be extinguished, nor impaired.[577]               705

      "Two passions, both degenerate, for they both
    Began in honour, gradually obtained
    Rule over her, and vexed her daily life;
    An unremitting,[578] avaricious thrift;
    And a strange thraldom of maternal love,                     710
    That held her spirit, in its own despite,
    Bound--by vexation, and regret, and scorn,
    Constrained forgiveness, and relenting vows,
    And tears, in pride suppressed, in shame concealed--
    To a poor dissolute Son, her only child.                     715
    --Her wedded days had opened with mishap,
    Whence dire dependence. What could she perform
    To shake the burthen off? Ah! there was felt,
    Indignantly, the weakness of her sex.
    She mused, resolved, adhered to her resolve;                 720
    The hand grew slack in alms-giving, the heart[579]
    Closed by degrees to charity; heaven's blessing
    Not seeking from that source, she placed her trust[580]
    In ceaseless pains--and strictest parsimony
    Which sternly hoarded all that could be spared,              725
    From each day's need, out of each day's least gain.[581]

      "Thus[582] all was re-established, and a pile
    Constructed, that sufficed for every end,
    Save the contentment of the builder's mind;
    A mind by nature indisposed to aught                         730
    So placid, so inactive, as content;
    A mind intolerant of lasting peace,
    And cherishing the pang her heart deplored.[583]
    Dread life of conflict! which I oft compared
    To the agitation of a brook that runs                        735
    Down a rocky mountain, buried now and lost
    In silent pools, now in strong eddies chained;[584]
    But never to be charmed to gentleness:
    Its best attainment fits of such repose
    As timid eyes might shrink from fathoming.[585][HW]          740

      "A sudden illness seized her in the strength
    Of life's autumnal season.--Shall I tell
    How on her bed of death the Matron lay,
    To Providence submissive, so she thought;
    But fretted, vexed, and wrought upon, almost                 745
    To anger, by the malady that griped
    Her prostrate frame with unrelaxing power,
    As the fierce eagle fastens on the lamb?
    She prayed, she moaned;--her husband's sister watched
    Her dreary pillow, waited on her needs;                      750
    And yet the very sound of that kind foot
    Was anguish to her ears! 'And must she rule,'
    This was the death-doomed[586] Woman heard to say
    In bitterness, 'and must she rule and reign,
    'Sole Mistress of this house, when I am gone?                755
    'Tend what I tended,[587] calling it her own!'
    Enough;--I fear, too much.--One vernal evening,[588]
    While she was yet in prime of health and strength,
    I well remember, while I passed her door
    Alone,[589] with loitering step, and upward eye              760
    Turned towards the planet Jupiter that hung
    Above the centre of the Vale, a voice
    Roused me, her voice; it said, 'That glorious star
    'In its untroubled element will shine
    'As now it shines, when we are laid in earth                 765
    'And safe from all our sorrows.' With a sigh
    She spake, yet, I believe, not unsustained
    By faith in glory that shall far transcend
    Aught by these perishable heavens disclosed
    To sight or mind. Nor less than care divine                  770
    Is divine mercy. She, who had rebelled,
    Was into meekness softened and subdued;
    Did, after trials not in vain prolonged,
    With resignation sink into the grave;
    And her uncharitable acts,[590] I trust,                     775
    And harsh unkindnesses are all forgiven,
    Tho', in this Vale, remembered with deep awe."

           *       *       *       *       *

    The Vicar paused; and toward a seat advanced,
    A long stone-seat, fixed in the Church-yard wall;[HX]
    Part shaded by cool sycamore, and part                       780
    Offering a sunny resting-place to them[591]
    Who seek the House of worship, while the bells
    Yet ring with all their voices, or before
    The last hath ceased its solitary knoll.
    Beneath the shade we all sate down;[592] and there           785
    His office, uninvited, he resumed.

      "As on a sunny bank, a tender lamb
    Lurks in safe shelter from the winds of March,
    Screened by its parent, so that little mound
    Lies guarded by its neighbour; the small heap                790
    Speaks for itself; an Infant there doth rest;
    The sheltering hillock is the Mother's grave.[HY]
    If mild discourse, and manners that conferred
    A natural dignity on humblest rank;
    If gladsome spirits, and benignant looks,                    795
    That for a face not beautiful did more
    Than beauty for the fairest face can do;
    And if religious tenderness of heart,
    Grieving for sin, and penitential tears
    Shed when the clouds had gathered and distained              800
    The spotless ether of a maiden life;
    If these may make a hallowed spot of earth
    More holy in the sight of God or Man;
    Then, o'er that mould,[593] a sanctity shall brood
    Till the stars sicken at the day of doom.                    805

      "Ah! what a warning for a thoughtless man,
    Could field or grove, could[594] any spot of earth,
    Show to his eye an image of the pangs
    Which it hath witnessed;[HZ] render back an echo
    Of the sad steps by which it hath been trod!                 810
    There, by her innocent Baby's precious grave,
    And on the very turf[595] that roofs her own,
    The Mother oft was seen to stand, or kneel
    In the broad day, a weeping Magdalene.[596]
    Now she is not; the swelling turf reports                    815
    Of the fresh shower, but of poor Ellen's tears
    Is silent; nor is any vestige left
    Of the path worn by mournful tread of her
    Who, at her heart's light bidding, once had moved
    In virgin fearlessness, with step that seemed[597]           820
    Caught from the pressure of elastic turf
    Upon the mountains gemmed[598] with morning dew,
    In the prime hour of sweetest scents and airs.
    --Serious and thoughtful was her mind; and yet,
    By reconcilement exquisite and rare,                         825
    The form, port, motions, of this Cottage-girl
    Were such as might have quickened and inspired
    A Titian's hand, addrest to picture forth
    Oread or Dryad glancing through the shade
    What time the hunter's earliest horn is heard                830
    Startling the golden hills.
                                 "A wide-spread elm
    Stands in our valley, named THE JOYFUL TREE;[599]
    From dateless usage which our peasants hold
    Of giving welcome to the first of May
    By dances round its trunk.--And if the sky                   835
    Permit, like honours, dance and song, are paid
    To the Twelfth Night, beneath the frosty stars
    Or the clear moon. The queen of these gay sports,
    If not in beauty yet in sprightly air,
    Was hapless Ellen.--No one touched the ground                840
    So deftly, and the nicest maiden's locks
    Less gracefully were braided;--but this praise,
    Methinks, would better suit another place.

      "She loved, and fondly deemed herself beloved.
    --The road is dim, the current unperceived,                  845
    The weakness painful and most pitiful,
    By which a virtuous woman, in pure youth,
    May be delivered to distress and shame.
    Such fate was hers.--The last time Ellen danced,
    Among her equals, round THE JOYFUL TREE,                     850
    She bore a secret burthen; and full soon
    Was left to tremble for a breaking vow,--
    Then, to bewail a sternly-broken vow,
    Alone, within her widowed Mother's house.
    It was the season of unfolding leaves,                       855
    Of days advancing toward their utmost length,
    And small birds singing happily to mates
    Happy as they. With spirit-saddening power
    Winds pipe through fading woods; but those blithe notes[600]
    Strike the deserted to the heart; I speak                    860
    Of what I know, and what we feel within.
    --Beside the cottage in which Ellen dwelt
    Stands a tall ash-tree; to whose topmost twig
    A thrush resorts, and annually chants,
    At morn and evening from that naked perch,                   865
    While all the undergrove is thick with leaves,
    A time-beguiling ditty, for delight
    Of his fond partner, silent in the nest.
    --'Ah why,' said Ellen, sighing to herself,
    'Why do not words, and kiss, and solemn pledge;              870
    And nature that is kind in woman's breast,
    And reason that in man is wise and good,
    And fear of him who is a righteous judge;
    Why do not these prevail for human life,
    To keep two hearts together, that began                      875
    Their spring-time with one love, and that have need
    Of mutual pity and forgiveness, sweet
    To grant, or be received; while that poor bird--
    O come and hear him! Thou who hast to me
    Been faithless, hear him, though a lowly creature,
    One of God's simple children that yet know not               881
    The universal Parent, how he sings
    As if he wished the firmament of heaven
    Should listen, and give back to him the voice
    Of his triumphant constancy and love;                        885
    The proclamation that he makes, how far
    His darkness doth transcend our fickle light!'

      "Such was the tender passage, not by me
    Repeated without loss of simple phrase,
    Which I perused, even as the words had been                  890
    Committed by forsaken Ellen's hand
    To the blank margin of a Valentine,
    Bedropped with tears. 'Twill please you to be told
    That, studiously withdrawing from the eye
    Of all companionship, the Sufferer yet                       895
    In lonely reading found a meek resource:
    How thankful for the warmth of summer days,
    When she could slip into the cottage-barn,
    And find a secret oratory there;
    Or, in the garden, under friendly veil                       900
    Of their long twilight, pore upon her book[601]
    By the last lingering help of the open sky
    Until dark night[602] dismissed her to her bed!
    Thus did a waking fancy sometimes lose
    The unconquerable pang of despised love.[IA]                 905

      "A kindlier passion opened[603] on her soul
    When that poor Child was born. Upon its face
    She gazed[604] as on a pure and spotless gift
    Of unexpected promise, where a grief
    Or dread was all that had been thought of,--joy              910
    Far livelier than bewildered traveller feels,
    Amid a perilous waste that all night long
    Hath harassed him toiling through fearful storm,[605]
    When he beholds the first pale speck serene
    Of day-spring, in the gloomy east, revealed,                 915
    And greets it with thanksgiving. 'Till this hour,'
    Thus, in her Mother's hearing Ellen spake,
    'There was a stony region in my heart;
    'But He, at whose command the parched rock
    'Was smitten, and poured forth a quenching stream,
    'Hath softened that obduracy, and made                       921
    'Unlooked-for gladness in the desert place,
    'To save the perishing; and, henceforth, I breathe
    'The air with cheerful spirit, for thy sake[606]
    'My Infant! and for that good Mother dear,                   925
    'Who bore me; and hath prayed for me in vain;--
    'Yet not in vain; it shall not be in vain.'
    She spake, nor was the assurance unfulfilled;
    And if heart-rending thoughts would oft return,
    They stayed not long.--The blameless Infant grew;
    The Child whom Ellen and her Mother loved                    931
    They soon were proud of; tended it and nursed;
    A soothing comforter, although forlorn;
    Like a poor singing-bird from distant lands;
    Or a choice shrub, which he, who passes by                   935
    With vacant mind, not seldom may observe
    Fair-flowering in a thinly-peopled house,
    Whose window, somewhat sadly, it adorns.

      "Through four months' space the Infant drew its food
    From the maternal breast; then scruples rose;                940
    Thoughts, which the rich are free from, came and crossed
    The fond affection.[607] She no more could bear
    By her offence to lay a two-fold weight
    On a kind parent willing to forget
    Their slender means: so, to that parent's care               945
    Trusting her child, she left their common home,
    And undertook with dutiful content[608]
    A Foster-mother's office.
                              "'Tis, perchance,
    Unknown to you that in these simple vales
    The natural feeling of equality                              950
    Is by domestic service unimpaired;[IB]
    Yet, though such service be, with us, removed
    From sense of degradation, not the less
    The ungentle mind can easily find means
    To impose severe restraints and laws unjust,                 955
    Which hapless Ellen now was doomed to feel:
    For (blinded by an over-anxious dread
    Of such excitement and divided thought[609]
    As with her office would but ill accord)[610]
    The pair, whose infant she was bound to nurse,               960
    Forbad her all communion with her own:
    Week after week, the mandate they enforced.[611]
    --So near! yet not allowed, upon that sight
    To fix her eyes-alas! 'twas hard to bear!
    But worse affliction must be borne--far worse;               965
    For 'tis Heaven's will--that, after a disease
    Begun and ended within three days' space,
    Her child should die; as Ellen now exclaimed,
    Her own--deserted child!--Once, only once,
    She saw it in that mortal malady;                            970
    And, on the burial-day, could scarcely gain
    Permission to attend its obsequies.
    She reached the house, last of the funeral train;
    And some one, as she entered, having chanced
    To urge unthinkingly their prompt departure,                 975
    'Nay,' said she, with commanding look, a spirit
    Of anger never seen in her before,
    'Nay, ye must wait my time!' and down she sate,
    And by the unclosed coffin kept her seat
    Weeping and looking, looking on and weeping,                 980
    Upon the last sweet slumber of her Child,
    Until at length her soul was satisfied.

      "You see the Infant's Grave; and to this spot,
    The Mother, oft as she was sent abroad,
    On whatsoever errand, urged her steps:                       985
    Hither she came; here stood, and sometimes knelt[612]
    In the broad day, a rueful Magdalene!
    So call her; for not only she bewailed
    A mother's loss, but mourned in bitterness
    Her own transgression; penitent sincere                      990
    As ever raised to heaven a streaming eye!
    --At length the parents of the foster-child,
    Noting that in despite of their commands
    She still renewed and could not but renew
    Those visitations, ceased to send her forth;                 995
    Or, to the garden's narrow bounds, confined.
    I failed not to remind them that they erred;
    For holy Nature might not thus be crossed,
    Thus wronged in woman's breast: in vain I pleaded--
    But the green stalk of Ellen's life was snapped,            1000
    And the flower drooped; as every eye could see,
    It hung its head in mortal languishment.
    --Aided by this appearance, I at length
    Prevailed; and, from those bonds released, she went
    Home to her mother's house.
                                "The Youth was fled;            1005
    The rash betrayer could not face the shame
    Or sorrow which his senseless guilt had caused;
    And little would his presence, or proof given
    Of a relenting soul, have now availed;
    For, like a shadow, he was passed away                      1010
    From Ellen's thoughts; had perished to her mind
    For all concerns of fear, or hope, or love,
    Save only those which to their common shame,
    And to his moral being appertained:
    Hope from that quarter would, I know, have brought          1015
    A heavenly comfort; there she recognised
    An unrelaxing bond, a mutual need;
    There, and, as seemed, there only.
                                       "She had built,[613]
    Her fond maternal heart had built, a nest
    In blindness all too near the river's edge;                 1020
    That work a summer flood with hasty swell
    Had swept away; and now her Spirit longed
    For its last flight to heaven's security.
    --The bodily frame wasted from day to day;[614]
    Meanwhile, relinquishing all other cares,                   1025
    Her mind she strictly tutored to find peace
    And pleasure in endurance. Much she thought,
    And much she read; and brooded feelingly
    Upon her own unworthiness. To me,
    As to a spiritual comforter and friend,                     1030
    Her heart she opened; and no pains were spared
    To mitigate, as gently as I could,
    The sting of self-reproach, with healing words.
    Meek Saint! through patience glorified on earth!
    In whom, as by her lonely hearth she sate,                  1035
    The ghastly face of cold decay put on
    A sun-like beauty, and appeared divine!
    May I not mention--that, within those[615] walls,
    In due observance of her pious wish,
    The congregation joined with me in prayer                   1040
    For her soul's good? Nor was that office vain.
    --Much did she suffer: but, if any friend,
    Beholding her condition, at the sight
    Gave way to words of pity or complaint,
    She stilled them with a prompt reproof, and said,           1045
    'He who afflicts me knows what I can bear;
    'And, when I fail, and can endure no more,
    'Will mercifully take me to himself.'
    So, through the cloud of death, her Spirit passed
    Into that pure and unknown world of love                    1050
    Where injury cannot come:--and here is laid
    The mortal Body by her Infant's side."

    The Vicar ceased; and downcast looks made known
    That each had listened with his inmost heart.
    For me, the emotion scarcely was less strong                1055
    Or less benign than that which I had felt
    When seated near my venerable Friend,
    Under[616] those shady elms, from him I heard
    The story that retraced the slow decline
    Of Margaret, sinking on the lonely heath                    1060
    With the neglected house to which she clung.[617]
    --I noted that the Solitary's cheek
    Confessed the power of nature.--Pleased though sad,
    More pleased than sad, the grey-haired Wanderer sate;
    Thanks to his pure imaginative soul                         1065
    Capacious and serene; his blameless life,
    His knowledge, wisdom, love of truth, and love
    Of human kind! He was it who first broke
    The pensive silence, saying:--
                                  "Blest are they
    Whose sorrow rather is to suffer wrong                      1070
    Than to do wrong, albeit[618] themselves have erred.
    This tale gives proof that Heaven most gently deals
    With such, in their affliction.--Ellen's fate,
    Her tender spirit, and her contrite heart,
    Call to my mind dark hints which I have heard               1075
    Of one who died within this vale, by doom
    Heavier, as his offence was heavier far.
    Where, Sir, I pray you, where are laid the bones
    Of Wilfred Armathwaite?"
                              The Vicar answered,
    "In that green nook, close by the Church-yard wall,         1080
    Beneath yon hawthorn, planted by myself
    In memory and for warning, and in sign
    Of sweetness where dire anguish had been known,
    Of reconcilement after deep offence--
    There doth he rest. No theme his fate supplies              1085
    For the smooth glozings of the indulgent world;
    Nor need the windings of his devious course
    Be here retraced;--enough that, by mishap
    And venial error, robbed of competence,
    And her[619] obsequious shadow, peace of mind,              1090
    He craved a substitute in troubled joy;
    Against his conscience rose in arms, and, braving
    Divine displeasure, broke the marriage-vow.[620]
    That which he had been weak enough to do
    Was misery in remembrance; he was stung,                    1095
    Stung by his inward thoughts, and by the smiles
    Of wife and children stung to agony.
    Wretched at home, he gained no peace abroad;
    Ranged through the mountains, slept upon the earth,
    Asked comfort of the open air, and found                    1100
    No quiet in the darkness of the night,
    No pleasure in the beauty of the day.
    His flock he slighted: his paternal fields
    Became a clog to him, whose spirit wished
    To fly--but whither! And this gracious Church,              1105
    That wears a look so full of peace and hope
    And love, benignant mother of the vale,
    How fair amid her brood of cottages!
    She was to him a sickness and reproach.
    Much to the last remained unknown: but this                 1110
    Is sure, that through remorse and grief he died;
    Though pitied among men, absolved by God,
    He could not find forgiveness in himself;
    Nor could endure the weight of his own shame.

      "Here rests a Mother. But from her I turn                 1115
    And from her grave.--Behold--upon that ridge,
    That,[621] stretching boldly from the mountain side,
    Carries into the centre of the vale
    Its rocks and woods--the Cottage where she dwelt;
    And where yet dwells her faithful Partner, left             1120
    (Full eight years past) the solitary prop
    Of many helpless Children. I begin
    With words that[622] might be prelude to a tale
    Of sorrow and dejection; but I feel
    No sadness, when I think of what mine eyes                  1125
    See daily in that happy family.
    --Bright garland form they for the pensive brow
    Of their undrooping Father's widowhood,
    Those six fair Daughters, budding yet--not one,
    Not one of all the band, a full-blown flower.               1130
    Deprest, and desolate of soul, as once
    That Father was, and filled with anxious fear,
    Now, by experience taught, he stands assured,
    That God, who takes away, yet takes not half
    Of what he seems to take; or gives it back,                 1135
    Not to our prayer, but far beyond our prayer;
    He gives it--the boon produce of a soil
    Which our endeavours have refused to till,
    And hope hath never watered. The Abode,
    Whose grateful owner can attest these truths,               1140
    Even were the object nearer to our sight,
    Would seem in no distinction to surpass
    The rudest habitations. Ye might think
    That it had sprung self-raised from earth, or grown
    Out of the living rock, to be adorned                       1145
    By nature only; but, if thither led,
    Ye would discover, then, a studious work
    Of many fancies, prompting many hands.

      "Brought from the woods the honeysuckle twines
    Around the porch, and seems, in that trim place,            1150
    A plant no longer wild; the cultured rose
    There blossoms, strong in health, and will be soon
    Roof-high; the wild pink crowns the garden-wall,
    And with the flowers are intermingled stones
    Sparry and bright, rough scatterings[623] of the hills.     1155
    These ornaments, that fade not with the year,
    A hardy Girl continues to provide;
    Who, mounting fearlessly the rocky heights,
    Her Father's prompt attendant, does for him
    All that a boy could do, but with delight                   1160
    More keen and prouder daring; yet hath she,
    Within the garden, like the rest, a bed
    For her own flowers and favourite herbs, a space,
    By sacred charter, holden for her use.
    --These, and whatever else the garden bears                 1165
    Of fruit or flower, permission asked or not,
    I freely gather; and my leisure draws
    A not unfrequent pastime from the hum
    Of bees around their range of sheltered hives
    Busy in that enclosure; while the rill,[624]                1170
    That sparkling thrids the rocks, attunes his voice
    To the pure course of human life which there
    Flows on in solitude. But, when the gloom
    Of night is falling round my steps, then most
    This Dwelling charms me; often I stop short,[625]           1175
    (Who could refrain?) and feed by stealth my sight
    With prospect of the company within,
    Laid open through the blazing window:--there
    I see the eldest Daughter at her wheel
    Spinning amain, as if to overtake                           1180
    The never-halting time; or, in her turn,
    Teaching some Novice of the sisterhood
    That skill in this or other household work,
    Which, from her Father's honoured hand, herself,
    While she was yet a little-one, had learned.                1185
    Mild Man! he is not gay, but they are gay;
    And the whole house seems filled with gaiety.
    --Thrice happy, then, the Mother may be deemed,
    The Wife, from whose consolatory grave[626]
    I turned, that ye in mind might witness where,              1190
    And how, her Spirit yet survives on earth!"

_Book Sixth, continued in Editions of 1814 and 1820 only_

      "The next three Ridges--those upon the left--
    By close connexion with our present thoughts
    Tempt me to add, in praise of humble worth,
    Their brief and unobtrusive history.                        1195
    --One Hillock, ye may note, is small and low,
    Sunk almost to a level with the plain
    By weight of time; the Others, undepressed,
    Are bold and swelling. There a Husband sleeps,
    Deposited, in pious confidence                              1200
    Of glorious resurrection with the just,
    Near the loved Partner of his early days;
    And, in the bosom of that family mold,
    A second Wife is gathered to his side;
    The approved Assistant of an arduous course                 1205
    From his mid noon of manhood to old age!
    He also of his Mate deprived, was left
    Alone--'mid many Children; One a Babe
    Orphaned as soon as born. Alas! 'tis not
    In course of nature that a Father's wing                    1210
    Should warm these Little-ones; and can he _feed_?
    That was a thought of agony more keen.
    For, hand in hand with Death, by strange mishap
    And chance-encounter on their diverse road,
    The ghastlier shape of Poverty had entered                  1215
    Into that House, unfeared and unforeseen.
    He had stepped forth, in time of urgent need,
    The generous Surety of a Friend: and now
    The widowed Father found that all his rights
    In his paternal fields were undermined.                     1220
    Landless he was and pennyless.--The dews
    Of night and morn that wet the mountain sides,
    The bright stars twinkling on their dusky tops,
    Were conscious of the pain that drove him forth
    From his own door, he knew not when--to range               1225
    He knew not where; distracted was his brain,
    His heart was cloven; and full oft he prayed,
    In blind despair, that God would take them all.
    --But suddenly, as if in one kind moment
    To encourage and reprove, a gleam of light                  1230
    Broke from the very bosom of that cloud
    Which darkened the whole prospect of his days.
    For He, who now possessed the joyless right
    To force the Bondsman from his house and lands,
    In pity, and by admiration urged                            1235
    Of his unmurmuring and considerate mind
    Meekly submissive to the law's decree,
    Lightened the penalty with liberal hand.
    --The desolate Father raised his head, and looked
    On the wide world in hope. Within these walls,              1240
    In course of time was solemnized the vow
    Whereby a virtuous Woman, of grave years
    And of prudential habits, undertook
    The sacred office of a wife to him,
    Of Mother to his helpless family.                           1245
    --Nor did she fail, in nothing did she fail,
    Through various exercise of twice ten years,
    Save in some partial fondness for that Child
    Which at the birth she had received, the Babe
    Whose heart had known no Mother but herself.                1250
    --By mutual efforts; by united hopes;
    By daily-growing help of boy and girl,
    Trained early to participate that zeal
    Of industry, which runs before the day
    And lingers after it; by strong restraint                   1255
    Of an economy which did not check
    The heart's more generous motions tow'rds themselves
    Or to their neighbours; and by trust in God;
    This Pair insensibly subdued the fears
    And troubles that beset their life: and thus                1260
    Did the good Father and his second Mate
    Redeem at length their plot of smiling fields.
    These, at this day, the eldest Son retains:
    The younger Offspring, through the busy world,
    Have all been scattered wide, by various fates;             1265
    But each departed from the native Vale,
    In beauty flourishing, and moral worth."


[Footnote 510: 1827.

    _Second Marriage of a Widower prudential and happy._         1814.

[Footnote 511: 1832.

    ... as long as sea ...                                       1814.

[Footnote 512: 1827.

    ... of English Hearts,
    That can perceive, not less than heretofore
    Our Ancestors did feelingly perceive,                        1814.

[Footnote 513: 1836.

    ... their minds                                              1814.

[Footnote 514: 1827.

    ... ambition's ...                                           1814.

[Footnote 515: 1827.

    And ...                                                      1814.

[Footnote 516: 1845.

    Of reverence to the spirit of the place;                     1814.

[Footnote 517: 1827.

    A Visitor--intent upon the task
    Of prying, low and high, for herbs and flowers:              1814.

[Footnote 518: 1836.

    ... that he was crazed in brain
    By unrequited love; and scaled the rocks,                    1814.

[Footnote 519: 1836.

    "Believe it not--oh! never could that be!"                   1814.

[Footnote 520: 1827.

                              ... and pined
    When he had told his love, and sued in vain,                 1814.

[Footnote 521: 1827.

                             ... Beauty wears,
    _That_ he could brook, ...                                   1814.

[Footnote 522: 1827.

                   ... but the Maid was gone!
    She, whose dear name with unregarded sighs
    He long had blessed, whose Image was preserved--
    Shrined in his breast with fond idolatry,
    Had vanished ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 523: 1845.

    ... as misery is mine!'                                      1814.

[Footnote 524:

    ... seek for truth                                             MS.

[Footnote 525: 1827.

                     ... circumspect and slow.
    Of rustic Parents bred, He had been trained,
    (So prompted their aspiring wish) to skill
    In numbers and the sedentary art
    Of penmanship,--with pride professed, and taught
    By his endeavours in the mountain dales.
    Now, those sad tidings weighing on his heart,
    To books, and papers, and the studious desk,
    He stoutly re-addressed himself--resolved
    To quell his pain, and enter on the path
    Of old pursuits with keener appetite
    And closer industry. Of what ensued
    Within his soul, ...                                         1814.

    Within his heart ...                                           MS.

[Footnote 526: 1836.

    Within their souls, a fount of grace divine;                 1814.

[Footnote 527: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 528: 1832.

    Will cover him; in height of strength--to earth              1814.

[Footnote 529: 1827.

    Some farewell words; and, with those words, a prayer         1814.

[Footnote 530: 1827.

    A Book, upon the surface of whose leaves
    Some chosen plants, disposed with nicest care,               1814.

[Footnote 531: 1827.

    One whose Endeavours did at length achieve
    A victory less worthy of regard,
    Though marvellous in its kind. A Place exists                1814.

[Footnote 532: 1836.

    In search of treasure there by Nature formed,
    And there concealed: but they who tried were foiled,         1814.

                          ... to unite their pains
    In search of precious ore: who tried were foiled,            1827.

[Footnote 533: 1827.

                           ... save he alone;
    Who ...                                                      1814.

[Footnote 534: 1827.

                                 ... to the view
    Of the Old Man, and to his trembling grasp,
    His bright, his long-deferred, his dear reward.              1814.

                 ... his long deferred reward.                     MS.

[Footnote 535: 1836.

    Of schemes and wishes; in the day-light walked               1814.

[Footnote 536: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 537: 1840.

    ... more light than He;                                      1814.

[Footnote 538: 1827.

    Amid these wilds; a composition framed
    Of qualities so adverse--to diffuse,
    Where'er he moved, diversified delight;
    A simple answer may suffice, even this,
    'Twas Nature's will; ...                                     1814.

[Footnote 539: 1827.

    And the Owl's Prey; none permanently house
    But many harbour; from these Haunts, to which                1814.

[Footnote 540: 1827.

    ... sunk ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 541: 1832.

    Not ...                                                      1814.

[Footnote 542: 1827.

    --Truths I record to many known, for such
    The not unfrequent tenor of his boast                        1814.

[Footnote 543: 1836.

    ... of different kind:                                       1814.

[Footnote 544: 1836.

    ... with those who sleep."                                   1814.

    ... with them who sleep."                                    1827.

[Footnote 545: 1827.

    ... who ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 546: 1827.

    ... He could not pine,
    Whencee'er rejected howsoe'er forlorn,
    Through lack of converse, ...                                1814.

[Footnote 547: 1845.

    Even by this ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 548: 1836.

    Under ...                                                    1814.

[Footnote 549: 1836.

    ... beneath a _borrowed_ name,                               1814.

[Footnote 550: 1827.

    Which ...                                                    1814.

[Footnote 551: 1836.

    ... these ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 552: 1845.

    Such change towards ...                                      1814.

[Footnote 553: 1827.

    ... which should stand
    For public use; and also might survive                       1814.

[Footnote 554: 1827.

    ... as might seem,
    Than suits this Place; ...                                   1814.

[Footnote 555: Italics were first used in 1827.]

[Footnote 556: 1845.

    ... of Prometheus chained?
    The Vulture-- ...                                            1814.

[Footnote 557: 1836.

    ... beneath ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 558: 1827.

    Beyond the limits of these humble graves,
    Of strange disasters; ...                                    1814.

[Footnote 559: 1827.

    For, though from these materials might be framed
    Harsh portraiture, in which a vulgar face                    1814.

[Footnote 560: 1820.

    ... may at once                                              1814.

[Footnote 561: 1836.

    ... records ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 562: 1836.

    Depository ...                                               1814.

[Footnote 563: 1836.

    Than fondest Epitaphs: for, if it fail,                      1814.

    Than fondest epitaphs: for, if that fail,                    1827.

[Footnote 564: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 565: 1832.

    That 'twas ...                                               1814.

[Footnote 566: 1836.

    ... will I single out ...                                    1814.

[Footnote 567: 1827.

    Than the ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 568: 1827.

    Or in ...                                                    1814.

[Footnote 569: This line was first inserted in 1845.]

[Footnote 570: 1845.

    While ...                                                    1814.

[Footnote 571: 1827.

    And saturnine; her port erect, her head
    Not absolutely raised, as if to hold                         1814.

[Footnote 572: 1827.

    ... yet rather framed                                        1814.

[Footnote 573: 1832.

    ... as sovereign Queen
    Among her Play-mates; ...                                    1814.

    ... as sovereign queen
    'Mid her companions; ...                                     1827.

[Footnote 574: 1827.

    ... else their simple sports
    Had wanted power to occupy a mind
    Held in subjection by a strong controul
    Of studious application, self-imposed.
    Books were her creditors; to them she paid,
    With pleasing, anxious eagerness, the hours
    Which they exacted; were it time allowed,
    Or seized upon by stealth, or fairly won,
    By stretch of industry, from other tasks.                    1814.

[Footnote 575: 1827.

    ... them                                                     1814.

[Footnote 576: 1827.

    ... or efface                                                1814.

[Footnote 577: 1832.

    ... or impaired.                                             1814.

[Footnote 578: 1836.

    ... unrelenting ...                                          1814.

[Footnote 579:

                             ... the hand
    Grew slack in alms-giving, the heart itself                    MS.

[Footnote 580: 1827.

                         ... Ah! there she felt,
    Indignantly, the weakness of her sex,
    The injustice of her low estate.--She mused;
    Resolved, adhered to her resolve; her heart
    Closed by degrees to charity; and, thence
    Expecting not Heaven's blessing, placed her trust            1814.

[Footnote 581: 1836.

    In ceaseless pains and parsimonious care,
    Which got, and sternly hoarded each day's gain.              1814.

[Footnote 582:

    Yet ...                                                        MS.

[Footnote 583: 1836.

    ... pang which it deplored.                                  1814.

[Footnote 584: 1836

    Down rocky mountains--buried now and lost
    In silent pools, unfathomably deep;--                        1814.

                  ... and now in eddies chained,--               1827.

                  ... now in strong eddies chained,--            1832.

[Footnote 585: 1827.

    Now in a moment starting forth again
    With violence, and proud of its escape;--
    Until it sink once more, by slow degrees,
    Or instantly, into as dark repose.                           1814.

[Footnote 586: 1845.

    This was the dying ...                                       1814.

[Footnote 587: 1845

                  ... when I am gone?
    "Sit by my fire--possess what I possessed--
    "Tend what I tended--                                        1814.

[Footnote 588: 1827.

                ... too much.--Of nobler feeling
    Take this example.--One autumnal evening                     1814.

[Footnote 589: 1845.

    Musing ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 590: 1845.

    "And safe from all our sorrows."--She is safe,
    And her uncharitable acts, ...                               1814.

[Footnote 591: 1827.

    The Vicar paused; and tow'rds a seat advanced,
    A long stone-seat, framed in the Church-yard wall;
    Part under shady sycamore, and part
    Offering a place of rest in pleasant sunshine,
    Even as may suit the comers old or young                     1814.

[Footnote 592: 1836.

    To this commodious resting-place he led;
    Where, by his side, we all sate down;                        1814.

    Under the shade we all sate down; ...                        1827.

[Footnote 593: 1827.

    Then, on that mold, ...                                      1814.

[Footnote 594: 1832.

    ... or ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 595: 1845.

    Yea, doubtless, on the turf ...                              1814.

[Footnote 596: 1814.

    At prayer, a weeping Magdalene.                                 C.

[Footnote 597: 1827.

    Upon the pathway, of her mournful tread;
    Nor of that pace with which she once had moved
    In virgin fearlessness, a step that seemed                   1814.

[Footnote 598: 1827.

    ... wet ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 599: 1827.

    When first the Hunter's startling horn is heard
    Upon the golden hills. A spreading Elm
    Stands in our Valley, called THE JOYFUL TREE:
    An Elm distinguished by that festive name,                   1814.

[Footnote 600: 1836.

    It was the season sweet, of budding leaves,
    Of days advancing tow'rds their utmost length,
    And small birds singing to their happy mates.
    Wild is the music of the autumnal wind
    Among the faded woods; but these blithe notes                1814.

    Of days advancing toward ...                                 1832.

[Footnote 601: 1827.

                       ... of summer days,
    And their long twilight!--friendly to that stealth
    With which she slipped into the Cottage-barn,
    And found a secret oratory there;
    Or, in the garden, pored upon her book                       1814.

[Footnote 602: 1845.

             ... of open sky,
    Till the dark night ...                                      1814.

[Footnote 603: 1814.

    ... kindled ...                                                 C.

[Footnote 604: 1845.

    She looked ...                                               1814.

[Footnote 605: 1827.

    Far sweeter than bewildered Traveller feels
    Upon a perilous waste, where all night long
    Through darkness he hath toiled and fearful storm,           1814.

[Footnote 606: 1845.

                ... and, henceforth, I look
    Upon the light with cheerfulness, for thee                   1814.

[Footnote 607: 1836.

    The sweet affection....                                      1814.

[Footnote 608: 1845.

    And with contented spirit undertook                          1814.

[Footnote 609: 1814.

    ... thoughts                                                   MS.

[Footnote 610: 1827.

                       ... doomed to feel.
      In selfish blindness, for I will not say
    In naked and deliberate cruelty,                             1814.

[Footnote 611: 1827.

                           ... with her own.
    They argued that such meeting would disturb
    The Mother's mind, distract her thoughts, and thus
    Unfit her for her duty--in which dread,
    Week after week, the mandate was enforced.                   1814.

[Footnote 612: 1836.

    And whatsoe'er the errand, urged her steps:
    Hither she came; and here she stood, or knelt                1814.

    ... here stood, and sometimes knelt                          1832.

[Footnote 613: 1827.

    ... raised,                                                  1814.

[Footnote 614: 1845.

    --The bodily frame was wasted day by day;                    1814.

[Footnote 615: 1827.

    ... these ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 616: 1845.

    Beneath ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 617: 1827.

    ... in which she dwelt.                                      1814.

[Footnote 618: 1836.

    ... although ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 619:

    And its ...                                                    MS.

[Footnote 620: 1827.

    There doth he lie.--In this his native Vale
    He owned and tilled a little plot of land;
    Here, with his Consort and his Children, saw
    Days--that were seldom crossed by petty strife,
    Years--safe from large misfortune; and maintained
    That course which minds, of insight not too keen,
    Might look on with entire complacency.
    Yet, in himself and near him, there were faults
    At work to undermine his happy state
    By sure, though tardy progress. Active, prompt,
    And lively was the Housewife; in the Vale
    None more industrious; but her industry
    Ill-judged, full oft, and specious, tended more
    To splendid neatness; to a shewy, trim,
    And overlaboured purity of house;
    Than to substantial thrift. He, on his part,
    Generous and easy-minded, was not free
    From carelessness; and thus, in lapse of time,
    These joint infirmities induced decay
    Of worldly substance; and distress of mind,
    That to a thoughtful Man was hard to shun,
    And which he could not cure. A blooming Girl
    Served in the house, a Favourite that had grown
    Beneath his eye, encouraged by his care.
    Poor now in tranquil pleasure he gave way
    To thoughts of troubled pleasure; he became
    A lawless Suitor to the Maid; and she
    Yielded unworthily.--Unhappy Man!                            1814.

[Footnote 621: 1827.

    Which, ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 622: 1827

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 623: 1827.

    ... the scatterings ...                                      1814.

[Footnote 624: 1845.

    ... from the sight
    Of the Bees murmuring round their sheltered hives
    In that Enclosure; while the mountain rill,                  1814.

[Footnote 625: 1827.

    Flows on in solitude from year to year.
    --But at the closing-in of night, then most
    This Dwelling charms me. Covered by the gloom,
    Then, in my walks, I oftentimes stop short,                  1814.

[Footnote 626: 1832.

    The Wife, who rests beneath that turf, from which            1814.


[Footnote HA: Note Wordsworth's love for the Established Church of
England, and compare the Ecclesiastical Sonnets.--ED.]

[Footnote HB: See Wordsworth's note, p. 389.--ED.]

[Footnote HC: Was he thinking of Cranmer?--ED.]

[Footnote HD: "His story is here truly related. He was a schoolfellow
of mine for some years. He came to us when he was at least seventeen
years of age, very tall, robust, and full grown. This prevented him from
falling into the amusements and games of the school; consequently, he
gave more time to books. He was not remarkably bright or quick, but, by
industry, he made a progress more than respectable. His parents not being
wealthy enough to send him to college when he left Hawkshead, he became a
schoolmaster, with a view to prepare himself for holy orders. About this
time he fell in love, as related in the poem, and everything followed
as there described, except that I do not know exactly when and where he
died."--I. F.]

[Footnote HE: Compare, in Keble's _Christian Year_, "Forms of Prayer to
be used at Sea."

    Far, far away, the home-sick seaman's hoard,
        Thy fragrant tokens live,
    Like flower-leaves in a precious volume stored,
        To solace and relieve, etc.                                ED.

[Footnote HF: "The Miner, described as having found his treasure after
twice ten years of labour, lived in Paterdale, and the story is true to
the letter. It seems to me, however, rather remarkable, that the strength
of mind which had supported him through his long unrewarded labour, did
not enable him to bear its successful issue."--I.F.]

[Footnote HG: See _Paradise Lost_, book v. l. 899.--ED.]

[Footnote HH: See _Comus_, I. 244.--ED.]

[Footnote HI: "The next character, to whom the priest is led by contrast
with the resoluteness displayed by the foregoing, is taken from a
person born and bred in Grasmere, by name Dawson; and whose talents,
dispositions, and way of life, were such as are here delineated. I did
not know him, but all was fresh in memory when we settled at Grasmere in
the beginning of the century."--I. F.]

[Footnote HJ: Hawkshead. The series of small valleys from Dunmail Raise
to Esthwaite is described as one "far-winding vale."--ED.]

[Footnote HK: "Two individuals, who, by their several fortunes, were,
at different times, driven to take refuge at the small and obscure town
of Hawkshead on the skirt of these mountains. Their stories I had from
the dear old dame with whom, as a schoolboy, and afterwards, I lodged
for nearly the space of ten years. The elder, the Jacobite, was named
Drummond, and was of a high family in Scotland."--I. F.]

[Footnote HL: "The Hanoverian Whig bore the name of Vandeput [Sir George
Vandeput], and might, perhaps, be a descendant of some Dutchman who had
come over in the train of King William."--I.F.]

[Footnote HM: Of this "dial," as of the "decorated pillar," there is no
trace in Grasmere churchyard, and no tradition exists of either. There
is, however, a pillar in Bowness churchyard in which a dial used to
stand, and Wordsworth may have blended his descriptions of Grasmere with
his remembrances of Bowness.--ED.]

[Footnote HN: See the note on the previous page.]

[Footnote HO: This may be an allusion to Wray Ghyll Force, which descends
between Silver How and Easdale. No other white torrent falling down rocks
is visible from the Grasmere churchyard. This one is distinctly seen,
when looking towards Silver How to the west.--ED.]

[Footnote HP: Compare "How many people there are that weep with want,
and are mad with oppression, or are desperate by too quick a sense of
a constant infelicity."--Jeremy Taylor's _Rule and Exercises of Holy
Dying_, i. 5, 2.--ED.]

[Footnote HQ: Prometheus, son of the Titan Iapetus, outwitted Jupiter,
stealing fire from heaven, etc. Jupiter, in revenge, caused Vulcan to
chain him to a rock in the Caucasus, where an eagle or vulture preyed on
his liver daily. See Æsch. _Prometheus_. Compare, "Prometheus tied to
Caucasus," _Titus Andronicus_, act II. scene i.--ED.]

[Footnote HR: Tantalus, son of Jupiter, punished for disclosing his
father's secrets, by being placed after death up to the chin in the
waters of a lake, which withdrew whenever he attempted to drink, while
boughs laden with fruit hung above his head, and were tossed from him by
the wind whenever he tried to grasp them.--ED.]

[Footnote HS: "The dark sorrows of the line of Thebes" descended for
three generations; from Lais and Iocaste to Œdipus; thence to Eteocles,
Polynices, Antigone, and Ismene.

Compare Milton's lines in _Il Penseroso_, ll. 97-100--

    Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
    In sceptred pall come sweeping by,
    Presenting Thebes, or Pelops' line,
    Or the tale of Troy divine.                                    ED.

[Footnote HT: Grasmere churchyard was, in Wordsworth's time,

                      almost wholly free
    From interruption of sepulchral stones.

Compare the Fenwick note to the _Epistle to Sir George Beaumont_ (vol.
iv. p. 258). Dr. Cradock wrote in 1878--"I cannot count more than two or
three gravestones of earlier date than 1800. Most of the others are of a
much more recent date."--ED.]

[Footnote HU: Was he thinking of such a spectacle as the churchyard at
Crosthwaite, Keswick, now presents?--ED.]

[Footnote HV: "This person lived at Town-end, and was almost our next
neighbour.... She was a most striking instance how far a woman may
surpass in talent, in knowledge, and culture of mind, those with and
among whom she lives, and yet fall below them in Christian virtues of the
heart and spirit."--I.F.]

[Footnote HW: As is notably the case with the beck in Tongue Ghyll.--ED.]

[Footnote HX: This "long stone seat" (now a thing of the past) was fixed
to the wall on the left of the south entrance-gate into the churchyard;
and not--as might have been supposed--on the opposite wall, which reaches
from the entrance-gate to the poet's grave. The old wall was rebuilt by
the late rector, but the seat was not replaced.--ED.]

[Footnote HY: "The story was told to Mrs. Wordsworth and my sister, by
the sister of this unhappy young woman. Every particular was exactly as
I have related.... She lived at Hawkshead."--I. F. See the whole of the
Fenwick note, also Charles Lamb's remarks, in his letter of Aug. 14,

[Footnote HZ: Compare the Hon. Justice Coleridge's "Reminiscences" of
a walk and conversation with Wordsworth (October 1836) in Easdale,
where--at the pool, which many have identified as "Emma's Dell"--he said,
"I have often thought what a solemn thing it would be could we have
brought to our mind at once all the scenes of distress and misery which
any spot, however beautiful and calm before us, has been witness to since
the beginning." (See vol. ii. p. 156.)--ED.]

[Footnote IA: Compare _Hamlet_, act III. scene i. l. 72--

    The pangs of despised love, the law's delay.                   ED.

[Footnote IB: This custom still survives in the country; sons working as
servants on ground belonging to their parents, and receiving payment for

Book Seventh



_Impression of these Narratives upon the Author's mind--Pastor invited
to give account of certain Graves that lie apart--Clergyman and his
Family--Fortunate influence of change of situation--Activity in extreme
old age--Another Clergyman, a character of resolute Virtue--Lamentations
over mis-directed applause--Instance of less exalted excellence
in a deaf man--Elevated character of a blind man--Reflection upon
Blindness--Interrupted by a Peasant who passes--his animal cheerfulness
and careless vivacity--He occasions a digression on the fall of beautiful
and interesting Trees--A female Infant's Grave--Joy at her Birth--Sorrow
at her Departure--A youthful Peasant--his patriotic enthusiasm and
distinguished qualities--his[627] untimely death--Exultation of the
Wanderer, as a patriot, in this Picture--Solitary how affected--Monument
of a Knight--Traditions concerning him--Peroration of the Wanderer on the
transitoriness of things and the revolutions of society--Hints at his own
past Calling--Thanks the Pastor._

    While thus from theme to theme the Historian passed,
    The words he uttered, and the scene that lay
    Before our eyes, awakened in my mind
    Vivid remembrance of those long-past hours;
    When, in the hollow of some shadowy vale,                      5
    (What time the splendour of the setting sun
    Lay beautiful on Snowdon's sovereign brow,[628]
    On Cader Idris, or huge Penmanmaur)
    A wandering Youth, I listened with delight
    To pastoral melody or warlike air,[IC]                        10
    Drawn from the chords of the ancient British harp
    By some accomplished Master, while he sate
    Amid the quiet of the green recess,
    And there did inexhaustibly dispense
    An interchange of soft or solemn tunes,                       15
    Tender or blithe; now, as the varying mood
    Of his own spirit urged,--now, as a voice
    From youth or maiden, or some honoured chief
    Of his compatriot villagers (that hung
    Around him, drinking in the impassioned notes                 20
    Of the time-hallowed minstrelsy) required
    For their heart's ease or pleasure. Strains of power
    Were they, to seize and occupy the sense;
    But to a higher mark than song can reach
    Rose this pure eloquence. And, when the stream                25
    Which overflowed the soul was passed away,
    A consciousness remained that it had left,
    Deposited upon the silent shore
    Of memory, images and precious thoughts,
    That shall not die, and cannot be destroyed.                  30

      "These grassy heaps lie amicably close,"
    Said I, "like surges heaving in the wind
    Along[629] the surface of a mountain pool:
    Whence comes it, then, that yonder we behold
    Five graves, and only five, that rise together                35
    Unsociably sequestered, and encroaching[630]
    On the smooth play-ground of the village-school?"[ID]

      The Vicar answered,--"No disdainful pride
    In them who rest beneath, nor any course
    Of strange or tragic accident, hath helped                    40
    To place those hillocks in that lonely guise.
    --Once more look forth, and follow with your sight
    The length of road that[631] from yon mountain's base
    Through bare enclosures stretches, 'till its line
    Is lost within[632] a little tuft of trees;[IE]               45
    Then, reappearing in a moment, quits
    The cultured fields; and up the heathy waste,
    Mounts, as you see, in mazes serpentine,
    Led towards[633] an easy outlet of the vale.[IF]
    That little shady spot, that sylvan tuft,                     50
    By which the road is hidden, also hides
    A cottage from our view; though I discern
    (Ye scarcely can) amid its sheltering trees
    The smokeless chimney-top.--

                              "All unembowered
    And naked stood that lowly Parsonage                          55
    (For such in truth it is, and appertains
    To a small Chapel in the vale beyond)
    When hither came its last Inhabitant.[IG]
    Rough and forbidding were the choicest roads
    By which our northern wilds could then be crossed;            60
    And into most of these secluded vales[634]
    Was no access for wain, heavy or light.
    So, at his dwelling-place the Priest arrived
    With store of household goods, in panniers slung
    On sturdy horses graced with jingling bells,                  65
    And on the back of more ignoble beast;
    That, with like burthen of effects most prized
    Or easiest carried, closed the motley train.
    Young was I then, a school-boy of eight years;
    But still, methinks, I see them as they passed                70
    In order, drawing toward[635] their wished-for home.
    --Rocked by the motion of a trusty ass
    Two ruddy children hung, a well-poised freight,
    Each in his basket nodding drowsily;
    Their bonnets, I remember, wreathed with flowers,             75
    Which told it was[636] the pleasant month of June;
    And, close behind, the comely Matron rode,
    A woman of soft speech and gracious smile,
    And with a lady's mien.--From far they came,
    Even from Northumbrian hills; yet theirs had been             80
    A merry journey, rich in pastime, cheered
    By music, prank, and laughter-stirring jest;
    And freak put on, and arch word dropped--to swell
    The cloud of fancy and uncouth surmise
    That gathered round the slowly-moving train.                  85
    --'Whence do they come? and with what errand charged?
    'Belong they to the fortune-telling tribe
    'Who pitch their tents under the green-wood tree?
    'Or Strollers are they,[637] furnished to enact
    'Fair Rosamond,[IH] and the Children of the Wood,[II]         90
    'And, by that whiskered tabby's aid, set forth
    'The lucky venture of sage Whittington,[IJ]
    'When the next village hears the show announced
    'By blast of trumpet?' Plenteous was the growth
    Of such conjectures, overheard, or seen                       95
    On many a staring countenance portrayed
    Of boor or burgher, as they marched along.
    And more than once their steadiness of face
    Was put to proof, and exercise supplied
    To their inventive humour, by stern looks,                   100
    And questions in authoritative tone,
    From some staid guardian of the public peace,
    Checking the sober steed on which he rode,
    In his suspicious wisdom; oftener still,
    By notice indirect, or blunt demand                          105
    From traveller halting in his own despite,
    A simple curiosity to ease:
    Of which adventures, that beguiled and cheered
    Their grave migration, the good pair would tell,
    With undiminished glee, in hoary age.                        110

    "A Priest he was by function; but his course
    From his youth up, and high as manhood's noon,
    (The hour of life to which he then was brought)
    Had been irregular, I might say, wild;
    By books unsteadied, by his pastoral care                    115
    Too little checked. An active, ardent mind;
    A fancy pregnant with resource and scheme
    To cheat the sadness of a rainy day;
    Hands apt for all ingenious arts and games;
    A generous spirit, and a body strong                         120
    To cope with stoutest champions of the bowl;
    Had earned for him sure welcome, and the rights
    Of a prized visitant, in the jolly hall
    Of country 'squire; or at the statelier board
    Of duke or earl, from scenes of courtly pomp                 125
    Withdrawn,--to while away the summer hours
    In condescension among rural guests.

    "With these high comrades he had revelled long,
    Frolicked industriously, a simple Clerk
    By hopes of coming patronage beguiled                        130
    Till the heart sickened. So, each loftier aim
    Abandoning and all his showy friends,[638]
    For a life's stay (slender it was, but sure)
    He turned to this secluded chapelry;
    That[639] had been offered to his doubtful choice            135
    By an unthought-of patron. Bleak and bare
    They found the cottage, their allotted home;
    Naked without, and rude within; a spot
    With which the Cure not long had been endowed:
    And far remote the chapel stood,[IK]--remote,                140
    And, from his Dwelling, unapproachable,
    Save through a gap high in the hills, an opening
    Shadeless and shelterless, by driving showers
    Frequented, and beset with howling winds.[640]
    Yet cause was none, whate'er regret might hang               145
    On his own mind, to quarrel with the choice
    Or the necessity that fixed him here;
    Apart from old temptations, and constrained
    To punctual labour in his sacred charge.
    See him a constant preacher to the poor!                     150
    And visiting, though not with saintly zeal,
    Yet, when need was, with no reluctant will,
    The sick in body, or distrest in mind;
    And, by as salutary change, compelled
    To rise[641] from timely sleep, and meet the day             155
    With no engagement, in his thoughts, more proud
    Or splendid than his garden could afford,
    His fields, or mountains by the heath-cock ranged,
    Or the[642] wild brooks; from which he now returned
    Contented to partake the quiet meal                          160
    Of his own board,[643] where sat his gentle Mate
    And three fair Children, plentifully fed
    Though simply, from their little household farm;
    Nor wanted timely treat[644] of fish or fowl
    By nature yielded to his practised hand;--                   165
    To help the small but certain comings-in
    Of that spare benefice. Yet not the less
    Theirs was a hospitable board, and theirs
    A charitable door.
                       "So days and years
    Passed on;--the inside of that rugged house                  170
    Was trimmed and brightened by the Matron's care,
    And gradually enriched with things of price,
    Which might be lacked for use or ornament.
    What, though no soft and costly sofa there
    Insidiously stretched out its lazy length,                   175
    And no vain mirror glittered upon[645] the walls,
    Yet were the windows of the low abode
    By shutters weather-fended, which[646] at once
    Repelled the storm and deadened its loud roar.
    There snow-white curtains hung in decent folds;              180
    Tough moss, and long-enduring mountain plants,
    That creep along the ground with sinuous trail,
    Were nicely braided; and composed a work
    Like Indian mats, that with appropriate grace
    Lay at the threshold and the inner doors;                    185
    And a fair carpet, woven of homespun wool
    But tinctured daintily with florid hues,
    For seemliness and warmth, on festal[647] days,
    Covered the smooth blue slabs of mountain-stone
    With which the parlour-floor, in simplest guise              190
    Of pastoral homesteads, had been long inlaid.[IL]

      "Those[648] pleasing works the Housewife's skill produced:
    Meanwhile the unsedentary Master's hand
    Was busier with his task--to rid, to plant,
    To rear for food, for shelter, and delight;                  195
    A thriving covert! And when wishes, formed
    In youth, and sanctioned by the riper mind,
    Restored me to my native valley, here
    To end my days; well pleased was I to see
    The once-bare cottage, on the mountain-side,                 200
    Screen'd from assault of every bitter blast;
    While the dark shadows of the summer leaves
    Danced in the breeze, chequering its mossy roof.[649]
    Time, which had thus afforded willing help
    To beautify with nature's fairest growths[650]               205
    This rustic tenement, had gently shed,
    Upon its Master's frame, a wintry grace;
    The comeliness of unenfeebled age.

      "But how could I say, gently? for he still
    Retained a flashing eye, a burning palm,                     210
    A stirring foot, a[651] head which beat at nights
    Upon its pillow with a thousand schemes.
    Few likings had he dropped, few pleasures lost;
    Generous and charitable, prompt to serve;
    And still his harsher passions kept their hold--             215
    Anger and indignation. Still he loved
    The sound of titled names, and talked in glee
    Of long-past banquetings with high-born friends:
    Then, from those lulling fits of vain delight
    Uproused by recollected injury, railed                       220
    At their false ways disdainfully,--and oft
    In bitterness, and with a threatening eye
    Of fire, incensed beneath its hoary brow.
    --Those[652] transports, with staid looks of pure good-will,
    And with soft smile, his consort would reprove.              225
    She, far behind him in the race of years,
    Yet keeping her first mildness, was advanced
    Far nearer, in the habit of her soul,
    To that still region whither all are bound.
    Him might we liken to the setting sun                        230
    As seen not seldom[653] on some gusty day,
    Struggling and bold, and shining from the west
    With an inconstant and unmellowed light;
    She was a soft attendant cloud, that hung
    As if with wish to veil the restless orb;                    235
    From which it did itself imbibe a ray
    Of pleasing lustre.--But no more of this;
    I better love to sprinkle on the sod
    That[654] now divides the pair, or rather say,
    That[655] still unites them, praises, like heaven's dew,     240
    Without reserve descending[656] upon both.

      [657]"Our very first in eminence of years
    This old Man stood, the patriarch of the Vale!
    And, to his unmolested mansion, death
    Had never come, through space of forty years;                245
    Sparing both old and young in that abode.
    Suddenly then they disappeared: not twice
    Had summer scorched the fields; not twice had fallen,
    On those high peaks, the first autumnal snow,
    Before the greedy visiting was closed,                       250
    And the long-privileged house left empty--swept
    As by a plague.[IM] Yet no rapacious plague
    Had been among them; all was gentle death,
    One after one, with intervals of peace.
    A happy consummation! an accord                              255
    Sweet, perfect, to be wished for! save that here
    Was something which to mortal sense might sound
    Like harshness,--that the old grey-headed Sire,
    The oldest, he was taken last, survived
    When the meek Partner of his age, his Son,                   260
    His Daughter, and that late and high-prized gift,
    His little smiling Grandchild, were no more.

    "'All gone, all vanished! he deprived and bare,
    'How will he face the remnant of his life?
    'What will become of him?' we said, and mused                265
    In sad conjectures--'Shall we meet him now
    'Haunting with rod and line the craggy brooks?
    'Or shall we overhear him, as we pass,
    'Striving to entertain the lonely hours
    'With music?' (for he had not ceased to touch                270
    The harp or viol which himself had framed,
    For their sweet purposes, with perfect skill.)
    'What titles will he keep? will he remain
    'Musician, gardener, builder, mechanist,
    'A planter, and a rearer from the seed?                      275
    'A man of hope and forward-looking mind
    'Even to the last!'--Such was he, unsubdued.
    But Heaven was gracious; yet a little while,
    And this Survivor, with his cheerful throng
    Of open projects, and his[658] inward hoard                  280
    Of unsunned griefs, too many and too keen,
    Was overcome by unexpected sleep,
    In one blest moment. Like a shadow thrown
    Softly and lightly from a passing cloud,
    Death fell upon him, while reclined he lay                   285
    For noontide solace on the summer grass,
    The warm lap of his mother earth:[IN] and so,
    Their lenient term of separation past,
    That family (whose graves you there behold)
    By yet a higher privilege once more                          290
    Were gathered to each other."[IO]
                                     Calm of mind
    And silence waited on these closing words;
    Until the Wanderer (whether moved by fear
    Lest in those[659] passages of life were some
    That might have touched the sick heart of his Friend
    Too nearly, or intent to reinforce                           296
    His own firm spirit in degree deprest
    By tender sorrow for our mortal state)
    Thus silence broke:--"Behold a thoughtless Man
    From vice and premature decay preserved                      300
    By useful habits, to a fitter soil
    Transplanted ere too late.--The hermit, lodged
    Amid[660] the untrodden desert, tells his beads,
    With each repeating its allotted prayer
    And thus divides and thus relieves the time;                 305
    Smooth task, with _his_[661] compared, whose mind could string,
    Not scantily, bright minutes on the thread
    Of keen domestic anguish; and beguile
    A solitude, unchosen, unprofessed;
    Till gentlest death released him.
                                      "Far from us               310
    Be the desire--too curiously to ask
    How much of this is but the blind result
    Of cordial spirits and vital temperament,
    And what to higher powers is justly due.
    But you, Sir, know that in a neighbouring vale[IP]           315
    A Priest abides before whose life such doubts
    Fall to the ground; whose gifts of nature lie
    Retired from notice, lost in attributes
    Of reason, honourably effaced by debts
    Which her poor treasure-house is content to owe,             320
    And conquests over her dominion gained,
    To which her frowardness must needs submit.
    In this one Man is shown a temperance--proof
    Against all trials; industry severe
    And constant as the motion of the day;                       325
    Stern self-denial round him spread, with shade
    That might be deemed forbidding, did not there
    All generous feelings flourish and rejoice;
    Forbearance, charity in deed and thought,
    And resolution competent to take                             330
    Out of the bosom of simplicity
    All that her holy customs recommend,
    And the best ages of the world prescribe.
    --Preaching, administering, in every work
    Of his sublime vocation, in the walks                        335
    Of worldly intercourse between[662] man and man,
    And in his humble dwelling, he appears
    A labourer, with moral virtue girt,
    With spiritual graces, like a glory, crowned."               339

      "Doubt can be none," the Pastor said, "for whom
    This portraiture is sketched. The great, the good,
    The well-beloved, the fortunate, the wise,--
    These titles emperors and chiefs have borne,
    Honour assumed or given: and him, the WONDERFUL,
    Our simple shepherds, speaking from the heart,               345
    Deservedly have styled.[IQ]--From his abode
    In a dependent chapelry that lies
    Behind yon hill, a poor and rugged wild,[IR]
    Which in his soul he lovingly embraced,
    And, having once espoused, would never quit;                 350
    Into its graveyard will ere long be borne
    That lowly, great, good Man. A simple stone[663]
    May cover him;[IS] and by its help, perchance,
    A century shall hear his name pronounced,
    With images attendant on the sound;                          355
    Then, shall the slowly-gathering twilight close
    In utter night; and of his course remain
    No cognizable vestiges, no more
    Than of this breath, which shapes[664] itself in words
    To speak of him, and instantly dissolves."                   360

      The Pastor pressed by thoughts which round his theme
    Still linger'd, after a brief pause, resumed;
    "Noise[665] is there not enough in doleful war,
    But that the heaven-born poet must stand forth,
    And lend the echoes of his sacred shell,                     365
    To multiply and aggravate the din?
    Pangs are there not enough in hopeless love--
    And, in requited passion, all too much
    Of turbulence, anxiety, and fear--
    But that the minstrel of the rural shade                     370
    Must tune his pipe, insidiously to nurse
    The perturbation in the suffering breast,
    And propagate its kind, far as he may?[666]
    --Ah who (and with such rapture as befits
    The hallowed theme) will rise and celebrate                  375
    The good man's purposes and deeds;[667] retrace
    His struggles, his discomfitures[668] deplore,
    His triumphs hail, and glorify his end;
    That virtue, like the fumes and vapoury clouds
    Through fancy's heat redounding in the brain,                380
    And like the soft infections of the heart,
    By charm of measured words may spread o'er field,
    Hamlet, and town;[669] and piety survive
    Upon the lips of men in hall or bower;
    Not for reproof, but high and warm delight,                  385
    And grave encouragement, by song inspired?
    --Vain thought! but wherefore murmur or repine?
    The memory of the just survives in heaven:
    And, without sorrow, will the[670] ground receive
    That venerable clay. Meanwhile the best                      390
    Of what lies here[671] confines us to degrees
    In excellence less difficult to reach,
    And milder worth: nor need we travel far
    From those to whom our last regards were paid,
    For such example.
                      "Almost at the root                        395
    Of that tall pine, the shadow of whose bare
    And slender stem, while here I sit at eve,
    Oft stretches toward[672] me, like a long straight path
    Traced faintly in the greensward; there, beneath
    A plain blue stone, a gentle Dalesman lies,[673]             400
    From whom, in early childhood, was withdrawn
    The precious gift of hearing.[IT] He grew up
    From year to year in loneliness of soul;
    And this deep mountain-valley was to him
    Soundless, with all its streams.[IU] The bird of dawn
    Did never rouse this Cottager from sleep                     406
    With startling summons; not for his delight
    The vernal cuckoo shouted; not for him
    Murmured the labouring bee. When stormy winds
    Were working the broad bosom of the lake                     410
    Into a thousand thousand sparkling waves,
    Rocking the trees, or driving cloud on cloud
    Along the sharp edge of yon lofty crags,[IV]
    The agitated scene before his eye
    Was silent as a picture: evermore                            415
    Were all things silent, wheresoe'er he moved.
    Yet, by the solace of his own pure thoughts
    Upheld, he duteously pursued the round
    Of rural labours; the steep mountain-side
    Ascended, with his staff and faithful dog;                   420
    The plough he guided, and the scythe he swayed;
    And the ripe corn before his sickle fell
    Among the jocund reapers. For himself,
    All watchful and industrious as he was,
    He wrought not: neither field nor flock he owned:
    No wish for wealth had place within his mind;                426
    Nor husband's[674] love, nor father's hope or care.

      "Though born a younger brother, need was none
    That from the floor of his paternal home
    He should depart, to plant himself anew.                     430
    And when, mature in manhood, he beheld
    His parents laid in earth, no loss ensued
    Of rights to him; but he remained well pleased,
    By the pure bond of independent love,
    An inmate of a second family;                                435
    The fellow-labourer and friend of him
    To whom the small inheritance had fallen.
    --Nor deem that his mild presence was a weight
    That pressed upon his brother's house; for books
    Were ready comrades whom he could not tire;                  440
    Of whose society the blameless Man
    Was never satiate. Their familiar voice,
    Even to old age, with unabated charm
    Beguiled his leisure hours; refreshed his thoughts;
    Beyond its natural elevation raised                          445
    His introverted spirit; and bestowed
    Upon his life an outward dignity
    Which all acknowledged. The dark winter night,
    The stormy day, each had[675] its own resource;
    Song of the muses, sage historic tale,                       450
    Science severe, or word of holy Writ
    Announcing immortality and joy
    To the assembled spirits of just men
    Made perfect, and from injury secure.[676]
    --Thus soothed at home, thus busy in the field,              455
    To no perverse suspicion he gave way,
    No languor, peevishness, nor vain complaint:
    And they, who were about him, did not fail
    In reverence, or in courtesy; they prized
    His gentle manners: and his peaceful smiles,                 460
    The gleams of his slow-varying countenance,
    Were met with answering sympathy and love.

      "At length, when sixty years and five were told,
    A slow disease insensibly consumed
    The powers of nature: and a few short steps                  465
    Of friends and kindred bore him from his home
    (Yon cottage shaded by the woody crags)
    To the profounder stillness of the grave.
    --Nor was his funeral denied the grace
    Of many tears, virtuous and thoughtful grief;                470
    Heart-sorrow rendered sweet by gratitude.
    And now that monumental stone preserves
    His name, and unambitiously relates
    How long, and by what kindly outward aids,
    And in what pure contentedness of mind,                      475
    The sad privation was by him endured.
    --And yon tall pine-tree, whose composing sound
    Was wasted on the good Man's living ear,
    Hath now its own peculiar sanctity;
    And, at the touch of every wandering breeze,                 480
    Murmurs, not idly, o'er his peaceful grave.

      "Soul-cheering Light, most bountiful of things!
    Guide of our way, mysterious comforter!
    Whose sacred influence, spread through earth and heaven,
    We all too thanklessly participate,                          485
    Thy gifts were utterly withheld from him
    Whose place of rest is near yon ivied porch.[IW]
    Yet, of the wild brooks ask if he complained;
    Ask of the channelled rivers if they held
    A safer, easier, more determined, course.                    490
    What terror doth it strike into the mind
    To think of one, blind and alone, advancing
    Straight toward some precipice's airy brink![677]
    But, timely warned, _He_ would have stayed his steps,
    Protected, say enlightened, by his ear;                      495
    And on the very edge[678] of vacancy
    Not more endangered than a man whose eye
    Beholds the gulf beneath.--No floweret blooms
    Throughout the lofty range of these rough hills,
    Nor[679] in the woods, that could from him conceal           500
    Its birth-place; none whose figure did not live
    Upon his touch.[IX] The bowels of the earth
    Enriched with knowledge his industrious mind;
    The ocean paid him tribute from the stores
    Lodged in her bosom; and, by science led,                    505
    His genius mounted to the plains of heaven.
    --Methinks I see him--how his eye-balls rolled,
    Beneath his ample brow, in darkness paired,--
    But each instinct with spirit;[IY] and the frame
    Of the whole countenance alive with thought,                 510
    Fancy, and understanding; while the voice
    Discoursed of natural or[680] moral truth
    With eloquence, and such authentic power,
    That, in his presence, humbler knowledge stood
    Abashed, and tender pity overawed."[IZ]                      515

      "A noble--and, to unreflecting minds,
    A marvellous spectacle," the Wanderer said,
    "Beings like these present! But proof abounds
    Upon the earth that faculties, which seem
    Extinguished, do not, _therefore_ cease to be.               520
    And to the mind among her powers of sense
    This transfer is permitted,--not alone
    That the bereft their recompense may win;[681]
    But for remoter purposes of love
    And charity; nor last nor least for this,                    525
    That to the imagination may be given
    A type and shadow of an awful truth;[682]
    How, likewise, under sufferance divine,
    Darkness is banished from the realms of death,
    By man's imperishable spirit, quelled.                       530
    Unto the men who see not as we see
    Futurity was thought, in ancient times,
    To be laid open, and they prophesied.
    And know we not that from the blind have flowed
    The highest, holiest, raptures of the lyre;                  535
    And wisdom married to immortal verse?"[JA]

      Among the humbler Worthies, at our feet
    Lying insensible to human praise,
    Love, or regret,--_whose_ lineaments would next
    Have been portrayed, I guess not; but it chanced
    That, near the quiet church-yard where we sate,              541
    A team of horses, with a ponderous freight
    Pressing behind, adown a rugged slope,
    Whose sharp descent confounded their array,
    Came at that moment, ringing noisily.                        545

      "Here," said the Pastor, "do we muse, and mourn
    The waste of death; and lo! the giant oak
    Stretched on his bier--that massy timber wain;
    Nor fail to note the Man who guides the team."

      He was a peasant of the lowest class:                      550
    Grey locks profusely round his temples hung
    In clustering curls, like ivy, which the bite
    Of winter cannot thin; the fresh air lodged
    Within his cheek, as light within a cloud;
    And he returned our greeting with a smile.                   555
    When he had passed, the Solitary spake;
    "A Man he seems of cheerful yesterdays
    And confident to-morrows; with a face
    Not worldly-minded, for it bears too much
    Of Nature's impress,--gaiety and health,                     560
    Freedom and hope; but keen, withal, and shrewd.
    His gestures note,--and hark! his tones of voice
    Are all vivacious as his mien and looks."

      The Pastor answered. "You have read him well.
    Year after year is added to his store                        565
    With _silent_ increase: summers, winters--past,
    Past or to come; yea, boldly might I say,
    Ten summers and ten winters of a space[683]
    That lies beyond life's ordinary bounds,
    Upon his sprightly vigour cannot fix                         570
    The obligation of an anxious mind,
    A pride in having, or a fear to lose;
    Possessed like outskirts of some large domain,
    By any one more thought of than by him
    Who holds the land in fee, its careless lord!                575
    Yet is the creature rational, endowed
    With foresight; hears, too, every sabbath day,
    The christian promise with attentive ear;
    Nor will, I trust, the Majesty of Heaven
    Reject the incense offered up by him,                        580
    Though of the kind which beasts and birds present[684]
    In grove or pasture; cheerfulness of soul,
    From trepidation and repining free.
    How many scrupulous worshippers fall down
    Upon their knees, and daily homage pay                       585
    Less worthy, less religious even, than his!

      "This qualified respect, the old Man's due,
    Is paid without reluctance; but in truth,"
    (Said the good Vicar with a fond half-smile)
    "I feel at times a motion of despite                         590
    Towards one, whose bold contrivances and skill,
    As you have seen, bear such conspicuous part
    In works of havoc; taking from these vales,
    One after one, their proudest ornaments.
    Full oft his doings leave me to deplore                      595
    Tall ash-tree, sown by winds, by vapours nursed,
    In the dry crannies of the pendent rocks;
    Light birch, aloft upon the horizon's edge,
    A veil[685] of glory for the ascending moon;
    And oak whose roots by noontide dew were damped,
    And on whose forehead inaccessible                           601
    The raven lodged in safety.--Many a ship
    Launched into Morecamb-bay to _him_ hath owed[686]
    Her strong knee-timbers, and the mast that bears
    The loftiest of her pendants; He, from park                  605
    Or forest, fetched the enormous axle-tree
    That whirls (how slow itself!) ten thousand spindles[687]
    And the vast engine labouring in the mine,
    Content with meaner prowess, must have lacked
    The trunk and body of its[688] marvellous strength,          610
    If his undaunted enterprise had failed
    Among the mountain coves.
                              "Yon household fir,[689]
    A guardian planted to fence off the blast,
    But towering high the roof above, as if
    Its humble destination were forgot--                         615
    That sycamore, which annually holds
    Within its shade, as in a stately tent[JB]
    On all sides open to the fanning breeze,
    A grave assemblage, seated while they shear
    The fleece-encumbered flock--the Joyful Elm,                 620
    Around whose trunk the maidens[690] dance in May--
    And the Lord's Oak--would plead their several rights
    In vain, if he were master of their fate;
    His sentence[691] to the axe would doom them all.
    But, green in age and lusty as he is,                        625
    And promising to keep his hold on earth[692]
    Less, as might seem, in rivalship with men
    Than with the forest's more enduring growth,
    His own appointed hour will come at last;
    And, like the haughty Spoilers of the world,                 630
    This keen Destroyer, in his turn, must fall.

      "Now from the living pass we once again:
    From Age," the Priest continued, "turn your thoughts;
    From Age, that often unlamented drops,
    And mark that daisied hillock, three spans long![JC]         635
    --Seven lusty Sons sate daily round the board
    Of Gold-rill[JD] side; and, when the hope had ceased
    Of other progeny, a Daughter then
    Was given, the crowning bounty of the whole;
    And so acknowledged with a tremulous joy                     640
    Felt to the centre of that heavenly calm[693]
    With which by nature every mother's soul
    Is stricken in the moment when her throes
    Are ended, and her ears have heard the cry
    Which tells her that a living child is born;                 645
    And she lies conscious, in a blissful rest,
    That the dread storm is weathered by them both.

    "The Father--him at this unlooked-for gift
    A bolder transport seizes. From the side
    Of his bright hearth, and from his open door,                650
    Day after day[694] the gladness is diffused
    To all that come, almost to all[695] that pass;
    Invited, summoned, to partake the cheer
    Spread on the never-empty board, and drink
    Health and good wishes to his new-born girl,                 655
    From cups replenished by his joyous hand.
    --Those seven fair brothers variously were moved
    Each by the thoughts best suited to his years:
    But most of all and with most thankful mind
    The hoary grandsire felt himself enriched;                   660
    A happiness that ebbed not, but remained
    To fill the total measure of his[696] soul!
    --From the low tenement, his own abode,
    Whither, as to a little private cell,
    He had withdrawn from bustle, care, and noise,               665
    To spend the sabbath of old age in peace,
    Once every day he duteously repaired
    To rock the cradle of the slumbering babe:
    For in that female infant's name he heard
    The silent name of his departed wife;                        670
    Heart-stirring music! hourly heard that name;
    Full blest he was, 'Another Margaret Green,'
    Oft did he say, 'was come to Gold-rill side.'

      "Oh! pang unthought of, as the precious boon
    Itself had been unlooked-for; oh! dire stroke                675
    Of desolating anguish for them all!
    --Just as the Child could totter on the floor,
    And, by some friendly finger's help upstayed,
    Range round the garden walk, while she perchance
    Was catching at some novelty of spring,                      680
    Ground-flower, or glossy insect from its cell
    Drawn by the sunshine--at that hopeful season[697]
    The winds of March, smiting insidiously,[698]
    Raised in the tender passage of the throat
    Viewless obstruction; whence, all unforewarned,              685
    The household lost their pride and soul's delight.
    --But time hath power[699] to soften all regrets,
    And prayer and thought can bring to worst distress
    Due resignation. Therefore, though some tears
    Fail not to spring from either Parent's eye                  690
    Oft as they hear of sorrow like their own,
    Yet this departed Little-one, too long
    The innocent troubler of their quiet, sleeps
    In what may now be called a peaceful bed.[JE]

      "On a bright day--so calm and bright, it seemed[JF]
    To us, with our sad spirits, heavenly-fair--                 696
    These mountains echoed to an unknown sound;[700]
    A volley, thrice repeated o'er the Corse
    Let down into the hollow of that grave,
    Whose shelving sides are red with naked mould.               700
    Ye rains of April, duly wet this earth!
    Spare, burning sun of midsummer, these sods,
    That they may knit together, and therewith
    Our thoughts unite in kindred quietness!
    Nor so the Valley shall forget her loss.                     705
    Dear Youth, by young and old alike beloved,[JG]
    To me as precious as my own!--Green herbs
    May creep (I wish that they would softly creep)
    Over thy last abode, and we may pass
    Reminded less imperiously of thee;--                         710
    The ridge itself may sink into the breast
    Of earth, the great abyss, and be no more;
    Yet shall not thy remembrance leave our hearts,
    Thy image disappear!
                         "The Mountain-ash
    No eye can overlook, when 'mid a grove                       715
    Of yet unfaded trees she lifts her head
    Decked[701] with autumnal berries, that outshine
    Spring's richest blossoms; and ye may have marked,[702]
    By a brook-side or solitary tarn,
    How she her station doth adorn: the pool                     720
    Glows at her feet, and all the gloomy rocks
    Are brightened round her. In his native vale
    Such and so glorious did this Youth appear;
    A sight that kindled pleasure in all hearts
    By his ingenuous beauty, by the gleam                        725
    Of his fair eyes, by his capacious brow,
    By all the graces with which nature's hand
    Had lavishly[703] arrayed him. As old bards
    Tell in their idle songs of wandering gods,
    Pan or Apollo, veiled in human form:                         730
    Yet, like the sweet-breathed violet of the shade
    Discovered in their own despite to sense
    Of mortals (if such fables without blame
    May find chance-mention on this sacred ground)
    So, through a simple rustic garb's disguise,                 735
    And through the impediment of rural cares,
    In him revealed a scholar's genius shone;
    And so, not wholly hidden from men's sight,
    In him the spirit of a hero walked
    Our unpretending valley.--How the quoit                      740
    Whizzed from the Stripling's arm! If touched by him,
    The inglorious foot-ball mounted to the pitch
    Of the lark's flight,--or shaped a rainbow curve,
    Aloft, in prospect of the shouting field!
    The indefatigable fox had learned                            745
    To dread his perseverance in the chase.[704]
    With admiration would he lift[705] his eyes
    To the wide-ruling eagle, and his hand
    Was loth to assault the majesty he loved:
    Else had the strongest fastnesses proved weak                750
    To guard the royal brood. The sailing glead,
    The wheeling swallow, and the darting snipe;
    The sportive sea-gull dancing with the waves,
    And cautious water-fowl, from distant climes,
    Fixed at their seat, the centre of the Mere,                 755
    Were subject to young Oswald's steady aim,
    And lived by his forbearance.
                                  "From the coast
    Of France a boastful Tyrant hurled his threats;[706][JH]
    Our Country marked the preparation vast[707]
    Of hostile forces; and she called--with voice                760
    That filled her plains, that[708] reached her utmost shores,
    And in remotest vales was heard--to arms!
    --Then, for the first time, here you might have seen
    The shepherd's grey to martial scarlet changed,
    That flashed uncouthly through the woods and fields.         765
    Ten hardy Striplings, all in bright attire,
    And graced with shining weapons, weekly marched,
    From this lone valley, to a central spot
    Where, in assemblage with the flower and choice
    Of the surrounding district, they might learn                770
    The rudiments of war; ten--hardy, strong,
    And valiant; but young Oswald, like a chief
    And yet a modest comrade, led them forth
    From their shy solitude, to face the world,
    With a gay confidence and seemly pride;                      775
    Measuring the soil beneath their happy feet
    Like Youths released from labour, and yet bound
    To most laborious service, though to them
    A festival of unencumbered ease;
    The inner spirit keeping holiday,                            780
    Like vernal ground to sabbath sunshine left.

    "Oft have I marked him, at some leisure hour,
    Stretched on the grass, or seated in the shade,
    Among his fellows, while an ample map
    Before their eyes lay carefully outspread,                   785
    From which the gallant teacher would discourse,
    Now pointing this way, and now that.--'Here flows,'
    Thus would he say, 'The Rhine, that famous stream!
    'Eastward, the Danube toward[709] this inland sea,
    'A mightier river, winds from realm to realm;                790
    'And, like a serpent, shows his glittering back
    'Bespotted--with innumerable isles:
    'Here reigns the Russian, there the Turk; observe
    'His capital city!' Thence, along a tract
    Of livelier interest to his hopes and fears,                 795
    His finger moved, distinguishing the spots
    Where wide-spread conflict then most fiercely raged;
    Nor left unstigmatized those fatal fields
    On which the sons of mighty Germany
    Were taught a base submission.--'Here behold                 800
    'A nobler race, the Switzers, and their land,
    'Vales deeper far than these of ours, huge woods,
    'And mountains white with everlasting snow!'
    --And, surely, he, that spake with kindling brow,
    Was a true patriot, hopeful as the best                      805
    Of that young peasantry, who, in our days,
    Have fought and perished for Helvetia's rights--
    Ah, not in vain!--or those who, in old time,
    For work of happier issue, to the side
    Of Tell came trooping from a thousand huts,                  810
    When he had risen alone![JI] No braver Youth
    Descended from Judean[710] heights, to march
    With righteous Joshua;[JJ] nor[711] appeared in arms
    When grove was felled, and altar was cast down,
    And Gideon blew the trumpet, soul-inflamed,                  815
    And strong in hatred of idolatry."

      The Pastor, even as if by these last words
    Raised from his seat within the chosen shade,
    Moved towards the grave;--instinctively his steps
    We followed; and my voice with joy exclaimed:[712]           820
    "Power to the Oppressors of the world is given,
    A might of which they dream not. Oh! the curse,
    To be the awakener of divinest thoughts,
    Father and founder of exalted deeds;
    And, to whole nations bound in servile straits,              825
    The liberal donor of capacities
    More than heroic! this to be, nor yet
    Have sense of one connatural wish, nor yet
    Deserve the least return of human thanks;
    Winning no recompense but deadly hate                        830
    With pity mixed, astonishment with scorn!"

      When this involuntary strain had ceased,[713]
    The Pastor said: "So Providence is served;
    The forkèd weapon of the skies can send
    Illumination into deep, dark holds,                          835
    Which the mild sunbeam hath not power to pierce.
    Ye Thrones that have defied remorse, and cast
    Pity away, soon shall ye quake with _fear!_[714]
    For, not unconscious of the mighty debt
    Which to outrageous wrong the sufferer owes,                 840
    Europe, through all her habitable bounds,[715]
    Is thirsting for their overthrow, who yet
    Survive, as pagan temples stood of yore,
    By horror of their impious rites, preserved;
    Are still permitted to extend their pride,[716]              845
    Like cedars on the top of Lebanon
    Darkening the sun.
                        "But less impatient thoughts,
    And love 'all hoping and expecting all,'[JK]
    This hallowed grave demands, where rests in peace
    A humble champion of the better cause;                       850
    A Peasant-youth, so call him, for he asked
    No higher name; in whom our country showed,
    As in a favourite son, most beautiful.
    In spite of vice, and misery, and disease,
    Spread with the spreading of her wealthy arts,               855
    England, the ancient and the free, appeared
    In him to stand before my swimming eyes,
    Unconquerably virtuous and secure.
    --No more of this, lest I offend his dust:
    Short was his life, and a brief tale remains.                860

      "One day--a summer's day of annual pomp[717]
    And solemn chase--from morn to sultry noon
    His steps had followed, fleetest of the fleet,
    The red-deer driven along its native heights
    With cry of hound and horn; and, from that toil              865
    Returned with sinews weakened and relaxed,
    This generous Youth, too negligent of self,
    Plunged--'mid a gay and busy throng convened
    To wash the fleeces of his Father's flock--
    Into the chilling flood. Convulsions dire[718]               870
    Seized him, that self-same night; and through the space
    Of twelve ensuing days his frame was wrenched,
    Till nature rested from her work in death.
    To him, thus snatched away, his comrades paid
    A soldier's honours. At his funeral hour                     875
    Bright was the sun, the sky a cloudless blue--
    A golden lustre slept upon the hills;
    And if by chance a stranger, wandering there,
    From some commanding eminence had looked
    Down on this spot, well pleased would he have seen           880
    A glittering spectacle; but every face
    Was pallid: seldom hath that eye been moist
    With tears, that wept not then; nor were the few,
    Who from their dwellings came not forth to join
    In this sad service, less disturbed than we.                 885
    They started at the tributary peal
    Of instantaneous thunder, which announced,
    Through the still air, the closing of the Grave;
    And distant mountains echoed with a sound
    Of lamentation, never heard before!"                         890

      The Pastor ceased.--My venerable Friend
    Victoriously upraised his clear bright eye;
    And, when that eulogy was ended, stood
    Enrapt, as if his inward sense perceived
    The prolongation of some still response,                     895
    Sent by the ancient Soul of this wide land,
    The Spirit of its mountains and its seas,
    Its cities, temples, fields, its awful power,
    Its rights and virtues--by that Deity
    Descending, and supporting his pure heart                    900
    With patriotic confidence and joy.
    And, at the last of those memorial words,
    The pining Solitary turned aside;
    Whether through manly instinct to conceal
    Tender emotions spreading from the heart                     905
    To his worn cheek; or with uneasy shame
    For those cold humours of habitual spleen
    That,[719] fondly seeking in dispraise of man
    Solace and self-excuse, had sometimes urged
    To self-abuse a not ineloquent tongue.                       910
    --Right toward[720] the sacred Edifice his steps
    Had been directed; and we saw him now
    Intent upon a monumental stone,
    Whose uncouth form was grafted on the wall,
    Or rather seemed to have grown into the side                 915
    Of the rude pile; as oft-times trunks of trees,
    Where nature works in wild and craggy spots,
    Are seen incorporate with the living rock--
    To endure for aye. The Vicar, taking note
    Of his employment, with a courteous smile                    920
                "The sagest Antiquarian's eye
    That task would foil;" then, letting fall his voice
    While he advanced, thus spake: "Tradition tells[721]
    That, in Eliza's golden days,[JL] a Knight
    Came on a war-horse[JM] sumptuously attired,                 925
    And fixed his home in this sequestered vale.
    'Tis left untold if here he first drew breath,
    Or as a stranger reached this deep recess,
    Unknowing and unknown. A pleasing thought
    I sometimes entertain, that haply bound                      930
    To Scotland's court in service of his Queen,
    Or sent on mission to some northern Chief
    Of England's realm, this vale he might have seen
    With transient observation; and thence caught
    An image fair, which, brightening in his soul                935
    When joy of war and pride of chivalry
    Languished beneath accumulated years,[722]
    Had power to draw him from the world, resolved
    To make that paradise his chosen home
    To which his peaceful fancy oft had turned.                  940

      "Vague thoughts are these; but, if belief may rest
    Upon unwritten story fondly traced
    From sire to son, in this obscure retreat
    The Knight arrived, with spear and shield, and borne
    Upon a Charger gorgeously bedecked                           945
    With broidered housings.[723] And the lofty Steed--[JN]
    His sole companion, and his faithful friend,
    Whom he, in gratitude, let loose to range
    In fertile pastures--was beheld with eyes
    Of admiration and delightful awe,                            950
    By those untravelled Dalesmen. With less pride,
    Yet free from touch of envious discontent,
    They saw a mansion at his bidding rise,
    Like a bright star, amid the lowly band                      954
    Of their rude homesteads. Here the Warrior dwelt;
    And, in that mansion, children of his own,
    Or kindred, gathered round him. As a tree
    That falls and disappears, the house is gone;[JO]
    And, through improvidence or want of love
    For ancient worth and honourable things,                     960
    The spear and shield are vanished, which the Knight
    Hung in his rustic hall. One ivied arch
    Myself have seen, a gateway,[JO] last remains
    Of that foundation in domestic care
    Raised by his hands. And now no trace is left                965
    Of the mild-hearted Champion, save this stone,
    Faithless memorial! and his family name
    Borne by yon clustering cottages, that sprang
    From out the ruins of his stately lodge:
    These, and the name and title at full length,--              970
    Sir Alfred Irthing, with appropriate words
    Accompanied, still extant, in a wreath
    Or posy, girding round the several fronts
    Of three clear-sounding and harmonious bells,
    That in the steeple hang, his pious gift."[JP]               975

      "So fails, so languishes, grows dim, and dies,"
    The grey-haired Wanderer pensively exclaimed,
    "All that this world is proud of. From their spheres
    The stars of human glory are cast down;
    Perish the roses and the flowers of kings,[JQ]               980
    Princes, and emperors, and the crowns and palms
    Of all the mighty, withered and consumed!
    Nor is power given to lowliest innocence
    Long to protect her own. The man himself
    Departs; and soon is spent the line of those                 985
    Who, in the bodily image, in the mind,
    In heart or soul, in station or pursuit,
    Did most resemble him. Degrees and ranks,
    Fraternities and orders--heaping high
    New wealth upon the burthen of the old,                      990
    And placing trust in privilege confirmed
    And re-confirmed--are scoffed at with a smile
    Of greedy foretaste, from the secret stand
    Of Desolation, aimed: to slow decline
    These yield, and these to sudden overthrow:                  995
    Their virtue, service, happiness, and state
    Expire; and nature's pleasant robe of green,
    Humanity's appointed shroud, enwraps
    Their monuments and their memory. The vast Frame
    Of social nature changes evermore                           1000
    Her organs and her members with decay
    Restless, and restless generation, powers
    And functions dying and produced at need,--
    And by this law the mighty whole subsists:
    With an ascent and progress in the main;                    1005
    Yet, oh! how disproportioned to the hopes
    And expectations of self-flattering minds!

      "The courteous Knight, whose bones are here interred,
    Lived in an age conspicuous as our own
    For strife and ferment in the minds of men;                 1010
    Whence alteration in the forms of things,
    Various and vast. A memorable age!
    Which did to him assign a pensive lot--
    To linger 'mid the last of those bright clouds
    That, on the steady breeze of honour, sailed                1015
    In long procession calm and beautiful.
    He who had seen his own bright order fade,
    And its devotion gradually decline,
    (While war, relinquishing the lance and shield,
    Her temper changed, and bowed to other laws)                1020
    Had also witnessed, in his morn of life,
    That violent commotion, which o'erthrew,
    In town and city and sequestered glen,
    Altar, and cross, and church of solemn roof,
    And old religious house--pile after pile;                   1025
    And shook their[724] tenants out into the fields,
    Like wild beasts without home! Their hour was come;
    But why no softening thought of gratitude,
    No just remembrance, scruple, or wise doubt?
    Benevolence is mild; nor borrows help,                      1030
    Save at worst need, from bold impetuous force,
    Fitliest allied to anger and revenge.
    But Human-kind rejoices in the might
    Of mutability; and airy hopes,
    Dancing around her, hinder and disturb                      1035
    Those meditations of the soul that[725] feed
    The retrospective virtues. Festive songs
    Break from the maddened nations at the sight
    Of sudden overthrow; and cold neglect
    Is the sure consequence of slow decay.                      1040

      "Even," said the Wanderer, "as that courteous Knight,
    Bound by his vow to labour for redress
    Of all who suffer wrong, and to enact
    By sword and lance the law of gentleness,
    (If I may venture of myself to speak,                       1045
    Trusting that not incongruously I blend
    Low things with lofty) I too shall be doomed
    To outlive the kindly use and fair esteem
    Of the poor calling which my youth embraced
    With no unworthy prospect. But enough;                      1050
    --Thoughts crowd upon me--and 'twere seemlier now
    To stop, and yield our gracious Teacher thanks
    For the pathetic records which his voice
    Hath here delivered; words of heartfelt truth,
    Tending to patience when affliction strikes;                1055
    To hope and love; to confident repose
    In God; and reverence for the dust of Man."


[Footnote 627: 1836.

    _his patriotic enthusiasm--distinguished qualities--and_     1814.

[Footnote 628: 1827.

    ... craggy top,                                              1814.

[Footnote 629: 1836.

    Upon ...                                                     1814.

[Footnote 630: 1827.

    ...    that lie apart,
    Unsociable company and sad;
    And, furthermore, appearing to encroach                      1814.

[Footnote 631: 1827.

    ...    follow with your eyes
    The length of road which ...                                 1814.

[Footnote 632: 1827.

    ... among ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 633: 1836.

    Towards ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 634: 1814.

    Be crossed, and into those secluded vales                       C.

[Footnote 635: 1832.

    ... tow'rds ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 636: 1827.

    Which told that 'twas ...                                    1814.

    Gay offering from ...                                          MS.

[Footnote 637: 1836.

    ... beneath the green-wood Tree?
    Or are they Strollers, ...                                   1814.

[Footnote 638: 1827.

    Had frolicked many a year; a simple Clerk
    By hopes of coming patronage beguiled
    And vexed, until the weary heart grew sick.
    And so, abandoning each higher aim
    And all his shewy Friends, at length he turned               1814.

    Had frolicked many a year; a simple Clerk
    Beguiled by hopes of coming patronage
    Till the heart sicken'd so each loftier aim
    Abandoning, and all his showy Friends
    He turned to this sequester'd Chapelry;
    Kindly presented to his doubtful choice                        MS.

[Footnote 639: 1836.

    For a life's stay, though slender yet assured,
    To this remote and humble Chapelry;
    Which ...                                                    1814.

    For a life's stay, though slender yet assured,
    He turned to this secluded Chapelry,
    That ...                                                     1827.

[Footnote 640: 1836.

    With which the scantily-provided Cure
    Not long had been endowed: and far remote
    The Chapel stood, divided from that House
    By an unpeopled tract of mountain waste.                     1814.

[Footnote 641: 1827.

    ... compelled,
    Month after month, in that obscure Abode
    To rise ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 642: 1827.

    Or these ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 643: 1827.

    Contentedly, to take a temperate meal
    At his own board, ...                                        1814.

[Footnote 644: 1836.

    With acceptable treat ...                                    1814.

[Footnote 645: 1845.

    ... on ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 646:

    ... that ...                                                   MS.

[Footnote 647: 1827.

    ... festive ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 648: 1836.

    These ...                                                    1814.

[Footnote 649: 1836.

    ... upon its ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 650: 1836.

    ... growth                                                   1814.

[Footnote 651: 1827.

    ... and ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 652: 1836.

    --These ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 653: 1827.

    As I have seen it, ...                                       1814.

[Footnote 654: 1827.

    Which ...                                                    1814.

[Footnote 655: 1827.

    Which ...                                                    1814.

[Footnote 656: 1827.

    Without distinction falling ...                              1814.

[Footnote 657: The following lines occur only in the editions of 1814 and

    --Yoke-fellows were they long and well approved
    To endure and to perform.
                              With frugal pains,
    Yet in a course of generous discipline,
    Did this poor Churchman and his Consort rear
    Their progeny.--Of three--sent forth to try
    The paths of fortune in the open world,
    One, not endowed with firmness to resist
    The suit of pleasure, to his native Vale
    Returned, and humbly tilled his Father's glebe.
    --The youngest Daughter, too, in duty stayed
    To lighten her declining Mother's care.
    But, ere the bloom was passed away which health
    Preserved to adorn a cheek no longer young,
    Her heart, in course of nature, finding place
    For new affections, to the holy state
    Of wedlock they conducted her; but still
    The Bride adhering to those filial cares
    Dwelt with her Mate beneath her Father's roof.

    ... discipline
    Their progeny was reared.--Of three that tried                 MS.

    But, ere her bloom had fled by health preserved
    To decorate a cheek no longer young,                           MS.

[Footnote 658: 1836.

    Of open schemes, and all his ...                             1814.

[Footnote 659: 1827.

    ... these ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 660: 1836.

    In ...                                                       1814.

[Footnote 661: Italics were first used in 1836.]

[Footnote 662: 1836.

    ... 'twixt ...                                               1814.

[Footnote 663: 1845.

                        ... would never quit;
    Hither, ere long, that lowly, great, good Man
    Will be conveyed. An unelaborate Stone                       1814.

    Into its graveyard will ere long be borne
    That lowly great good man. A simple stone
    May cover him, and by that record's help,                       C.

[Footnote 664: 1827.

    ... frames ...                                               1814.

[Footnote 665: 1845.

                ... and instantly dissolves.
    --Noise ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 666: 1832.

    ... where'er he may?                                         1814.

[Footnote 667: 1836.

    ... deeds and purposes; ...                                  1814.

[Footnote 668: 1836.

    ... discomfiture ...                                         1814.

[Footnote 669: 1827.

                      ... through fields
    And cottages, ...                                            1814.

[Footnote 670: 1845.

    ... this ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 671: 1845.

    Of what it holds ...                                         1814.

[Footnote 672: 1836.

    ... tow'rds ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 673: 1814.

    Beneath that pine which rears its dusky head
    Aloft, and covered by a plain blue stone
    Briefly inscribed, a gentle Dalesman lies;
          Quoted from MS. in _Essay upon Epitaphs_.              1810.

[Footnote 674: 1814.

    No husband's ...                                             1810.

[Footnote 675: 1836.

    ... had each ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 676: 1836.

    To the assembled spirits of the just
    From imperfection and decay secure.                          1814.

[Footnote 677: 1845.

    To think of One, who cannot see, advancing
    Towards some precipice's airy brink!                         1814.

    Toward ...                                                   1832.

    To think of one, who cannot see, advancing
    Straight toward some precipice's airy brink!                 1836.

[Footnote 678: 1827.

    ... brink ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 679: 1836.

    Or ...                                                       1814.

[Footnote 680: 1827.

    ... and ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 681: 1827.

    ... may win their recompence;                                1814.

[Footnote 682: 1814.

    Not least for this that here might be perceived
    A type and shadow of that awful truth.                          C.

[Footnote 683: 1827.

    ... of the space                                             1814.

[Footnote 684: 1827.

    ... with attentive ear,
    Nor disbelieves the tidings which he hears.
    Meanwhile the incense offered up by him
    Is of the kind which beasts and birds present                1814.

[Footnote 685: 1827.

    ... horizon's edge,
    Transparent texture, framing in the east
    A veil ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 686: 1827.

    ... hath owed to him                                         1814.

[Footnote 687: 1827.

    The loftiest of her pendants. Help he gives
    To lordly mansion rising far or near;
    The enormous wheel that turns ten thousand spindles,         1814.

    ... pendants. And the wheel
    Enormous, that turns round ten thousand spindles,              MS.

[Footnote 688: 1827.

    ... their ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 689: 1827.

    Among the mountain coves, or keen research
    In forest, park, or chace. Yon household Fir,                1814.

[Footnote 690: 1827.

    ... lasses ...                                               1814.

[Footnote 691: 1827.

    ... of their fate.
    Not one would have his pitiful regard,
    For prized accommodation, pleasant use,
    For dignity, for old acquaintance sake,
    For ancient custom or distinguished name.
    His sentence ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 692: 1827.

    And promising to stand from year to year,                    1814.

[Footnote 693: 1827.

    Was given, the crown and glory of the whole!
    Welcomed with joy, whose penetrating power
    Was not unfelt amid that heavenly calm                       1814.

[Footnote 694: 1827.

    ... from his open door,
    And from the laurel-shaded seat thereby,
    Day after day ...                                            1814.

[Footnote 695: 1836.

    ... and almost all ...                                       1814.

[Footnote 696: 1836.

    ... the ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 697:

    Range round the garden-walk, whose first Spring flowers
    Were peeping forth, even at that hopeful time,                 MS.

[Footnote 698: 1827.

    Range round the garden-walk, whose low ground-flowers
    Were peeping forth, shy messengers of spring,--
    Even at that hopeful time,--the winds of March,
    One sunny day, smiting insidiously,                          1814.

[Footnote 699: 1827.

    .... their hope and soul's delight.
    --But Providence, that gives and takes away
    By his own law, is merciful and just;
    Time wants not power ...                                     1814.

[Footnote 700: 1836.

    ... a peaceful grave.
    On a bright day, the brightest of the year,
    These mountains echoed with an unknown sound,                1814.

[Footnote 701: 1827.

    ... The mountain Ash,
    Decked ...                                                   1814.

    ...The mountain ash
    Ye may have mark'd mid yet unfaded woods
    Deck'd with autumnal berries that outshine
    The richest blossoms of the Spring, or seen                    MS.

[Footnote 702: 1827.

    Spring's richest blossoms, yields a splendid show,
    Amid the leafy woods; and ye have seen,                      1814.

[Footnote 703: 1827.

    Had bounteously ...                                          1814.

[Footnote 704: 1814.

    Fleeing for life the fox was taught to dread
    His voice and indefatigable feet.                               C.


    The fox in many wiles however versed
    Or spent in strength by forward flight
    O'er { hill and vale   } was taught to dread
         { vale and stream }
    His voice and indefatigable feet
    Still foremost, longest in the obstinate chase.                 C.

[Footnote 705: 1827.

    ... he could lift ...                                        1814.

[Footnote 706: 1836.

    ... steady aim.
    From Gallia's coast a Tyrant's threats were hurled;          1814.

    From Gallia's coast a Tyrant hurled his threats;             1827.

[Footnote 707: 1827.

    ... preparations vast                                        1814.

[Footnote 708: 1832.

    ... and ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 709: 1827.

    ... tow'rds ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 710: 1827.

    ... Judea's ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 711: 1836.

    ... or ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 712: 1836.

    This spoken, from his seat the Pastor rose,
    And moved towards the grave;--instinctively
    His steps we followed; and my voice exclaimed,               1814.

[Footnote 713: 1836.

    When these involuntary words had ceased,                     1814.

[Footnote 714: 1836.

    ... power to pierce.
    Why do ye quake, intimidated Thrones?                        1814.

[Footnote 715: 1836.

    ... Seats,                                                   1814.

[Footnote 716: 1836.

    ... who still
    Exist, as Pagan Temples stood of old,
    By very horror of their impious rites
    Preserved; are suffered to extend their pride,               1814.

[Footnote 717: 1845.

    One summer's day, a day of annual pomp                       1814.

[Footnote 718: 1827.

    ... too negligent of self,
    (A natural failing which maturer years
    Would have subdued) took fearlessly--and kept--
    His wonted station in the chilling flood,
    Among a busy company convened
    To wash his Father's flock. Convulsions dire                 1814.

[Footnote 719: 1827.

    Which ...                                                    1814.

[Footnote 720: 1827.

    ... tow'rds ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 721: 1827.

    That task would foil." And, with these added words,
    He thitherward advanced, "Tradition tells                    1814.

[Footnote 722: 1827.

    ... in his soul
    When years admonished him of failing strength
    And he no more rejoiced in war's delights,                   1814.

    Long crush'd beneath ...                                       MS.

[Footnote 723: 1845.

    The Knight arrived, with pomp of spear and shield,
    And borne upon a Charger covered o'er
    With gilded housings....                                     1814.

[Footnote 724: 1836.

    ... the ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 725: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.


[Footnote IC: In the end of May and in June 1791, Wordsworth went with
his friend Jones on a pedestrian tour in Wales.--ED.]

[Footnote ID: Note the exactness of the reference to the "playground of
the village-school." It is described as "smooth" because it had no graves
in it at that time. "The school," writes Dr. Cradock, "was then, and long
afterwards, held at the house abutting the Lichgate, and the children had
no playground but the churchyard. The portion of the ground nearest the
school was not used for burial, until the want of room made it necessary
to encroach on it. The oldest tombstone bears the date of 1777."--ED.]

[Footnote IE: This "tuft of trees" is still standing (1896).--ED.]

[Footnote IF: The road "up the heathy waste," and mounting "in mazes
serpentine," is the Keswick road over Dunmail Raise, the "easy outlet of
the vale."--ED.]

[Footnote IG: The cottage in which the parson of Wytheburn then lived
still stands on the right or eastern side of the road, as you ascend
the Raise, beyond the Swan Inn. It abuts on the public road about three
hundred yards beyond the bridge over Tongue Ghyll beck. "The Clergyman
and his family described at the beginning of the seventh book were,
during many years, our principal associates in the vale of Grasmere,
unless I were to except our very nearest neighbours.... With the single
exception of the particulars of their journey to Grasmere--which,
however, was exactly copied from real life in another instance--the whole
that I have said of them is as faithful to the truth as words can make
it." (I. F.)--ED.]

[Footnote IH: Compare Dryden's _Epilogue to Henry II._--

    Jane Clifford was her name, as books aver:
    Fair Rosamond was but her _nom de guerre_.

Also Sir Walter Scott's _Woodstock_, and _The Talisman_.--ED.]

[Footnote II: Compare Gay, _The Shepherds Week_, the Sixth Pastoral, line

    Then sad he sung "The children in the wood."
    Ah! barb'rous Uncle, stain'd with infant blood!                ED.

[Footnote IJ: Compare _The Prelude_, book vii. ll. 110-115 (see vol. iii.
p. 251).--ED.]

[Footnote IK: The chapel of Wytheburn, at the northern or Cumberland side
of Dunmail Raise.--ED.]

[Footnote IL: This house, in which Mr. Sympson lived, and which--though
no longer the parsonage--still belongs to Wytheburn church, is easily
identified. The "blue slabs of mountain-stone," common to all old houses
in the vale, remain just as they were, when the old pastor lived, and
Wordsworth was his frequent guest. The windows, too, "by shutters
weather-fended," are described with minute fidelity.--ED.]

[Footnote IM: Mrs. Sympson was twelve years her husband's junior, and she
pre-deceased him by a year and a half.


    "She, far behind him in the race of years" (l. 226).


    "Not twice had summer," etc. (l. 247).                         ED.

[Footnote IN: Old Mr. Sympson was found dead in his garden on the
opposite side of the road from the cottage, in 1807, in his ninety-second
year. There is now a new door into the garden, but the posts are old
enough to have been there in Sympson's time.--ED.]

[Footnote IO: The Sympsons are all buried at Grasmere. Their gravestone
stands about ten yards north-west from that of their poet, not far from
the monument erected in memory of Arthur Hugh Clough. There is only one
stone, a low one, with a pointed top. The following is the inscription
on it:--"Here lie the remains of the Reverend Jos. Sympson, Minister of
Wytheburn for more than 50 years. He died June 27, 1807, aged 92; also
of Mary, his wife, who died Jan. 24, 1806, aged 81; also of Eliz. Jane,
their youngest Dr., who died Sep. 11, 1801, aged 37."--ED.]

[Footnote IP: The Duddon valley.--ED.]

[Footnote IQ: See the notes to the Duddon sonnets.--ED.]

[Footnote IR: The chapelry of Seathwaite. The reference to "yon hill"
suggests that the conversation is carried on at Hackett (rather than
Grasmere), whence Wetherlam--which concealed the Duddon valley--would be

[Footnote IS: It is so. In the churchyard of Seathwaite a plain stone
slab records the fact that he died on the 25th June 1802, in the
ninety-third year of his age.--ED.]

[Footnote IT: "The Deaf Man, whose epitaph may be seen in the churchyard
at the head of Hawes Water, and whose qualities of mind and heart, and
their benign influence in conjunction with his privation, I had from his
relatives on the spot."--I. F.

Thomas Holme of Chapel Hill was his name. On his epitaph it is said "he
was deprived of the sense of hearing in his youth, and lived about 58
years without the comfort of hearing one word. He reconciled himself to
his misfortune by reading, and useful employment." He died in 1773, "aged
67 years."

From this it is clear that we must not look for the "tall pine" or the
"plain blue stone" in Grasmere churchyard! and that the localities as
well as the narratives of _The Excursion_ are at times composite.--ED.]

[Footnote IU: For another reference to the streams in the Grasmere Vale,
compare the _Lines composed at Grasmere_, when Mr. Fox's death was hourly
expected (vol. iv. p. 47)--

    Loud is the Vale! the Voice is up
    With which she speaks when storms are gone,
    A mighty unison of streams!
    Of all her Voices, One.                                      ED.

[Footnote IV: Either Stone Arthur, or Loughrigg. Compare the lines _To
the Clouds_, suggested by their appearance on Nab Scar--

    Army of Clouds! ye wingéd Host in troops
    Ascending from behind the motionless brow
    Of that tall rock, etc.                                      ED.

[Footnote IW: "The Blind Man was John Gough, of Kendal, a man known, far
beyond his neighbourhood, for his talents and attainments in natural
history and science."--I.F. For an account of John Gough, see Appendix,
and note [IX] p. 304.--ED.]

[Footnote IX: This John Gough, a friend of Wordsworth's, was one of the
first mathematicians of his time, and a most successful teacher. Whewell
and King (senior wranglers) were amongst his pupils. So was Dalton. Gough
had been deprived of sight by an attack of small-pox, when he was between
two and three years of age. He was a great botanist, as is mentioned in
the text; and the following remarkable circumstance is recorded of him,
showing at once his marvellous memory, and the extreme delicacy of his
sense of _touch_. In the _Elegiac Verses_ on his brother John, Wordsworth
had described the moss campion, _Silene acaulis_--

    It grows upon its native bed
    Beside our Parting-place;
    There, cleaving to the ground, it lies
    With multitude of purple eyes,
    Spangling a cushion green like moss.

This poem was read to Gough in 1805 (it was not published till 1845),
and twelve years afterwards, in 1817, a specimen of the moss campion was
placed in his hand, and he said at once, "I have never examined this
plant before, but it is _Silene acaulis_." Compare Atkinson's _Worthies
of Cumberland_ and note E in the Appendix to this volume, p. 398.--ED.]

[Footnote IY: Compare _Paradise Lost_, book vi. l. 752.--ED.]

[Footnote IZ: See note [XI] above.--ED.]

[Footnote JA: Compare _L'Allegro_, l. 137--

    Married to immortal verse.                                     ED.

[Footnote JB: See Wordsworth's note, p. 389.--ED.]

[Footnote JC: Compare Burger's _Pfarrers Tochter_--

    Drei Spannen lang.                                             ED.

[Footnote JD: "This refers to the Greens, a very ancient Grasmere family,
settled for generations at Pavement End, which, with a considerable
tract of land, is still their property. The poet describes them as
dwelling at Gold-rill side, and I have been told that the name was a pure
invention to avoid the realism of 'Grasmere,' or 'Pavement End.' Such,
however, is not exactly the case. On enquiry from Mr. Fleming Green,
one of the family now residing in Grasmere, I find that a small stream
to which Wordsworth himself, from some fancy of his own, had given the
name of Gold-rill, ran formerly by the road side, and then turned by the
side of the farm at Pavement End towards the Lake. When the road was
reconstructed, the rill was covered, and can no more be seen there; but
it issues freely from a culvert at the back of the premises, and runs by
the hedge-side to the Lake. Mr. Fleming Green remembers the rill as it
was, and pointed out its course to me. He is a son of one of the 'seven
lusty sons' mentioned in the poem. (Mr. Green would read 'six.') He said
'we stuck to the old home till we could no longer stand up in it.' He
is one of a race well termed 'lusty.' The 'hoary grandsire' and many of
his descendants lie buried in a long row, a little to the left of the
path leading from the Church to the lichgate at the north. Among them
is little Margaret (her name and age not unrecorded), but her 'daisied
hillock three spans long' is now merged in the larger graves of her more
aged kindred." (Dr. Cradock to the Editor.)--ED.]

[Footnote JE: "Of the infant's grave I will only say, it is an exact
picture of what fell under my own observation."--I. F.]

[Footnote JF: Compare George Herbert's

    Sweet Day, so cool, so calm and bright.                        ED.

[Footnote JG: "This young volunteer bore the name of Dawson.... The
premature death of this gallant young man was much lamented, and as an
attendant upon the funeral, I myself witnessed the ceremony, and the
effect of it as described in the poem."--I. F. See the whole of the note
(p. 13).

"In _The Excursion_, book vii., is an animated account of the life and
death of a young volunteer, one of a company of eighty men, which, when
England was threatened with a French invasion, was formed in the Lake
District, and was named 'Wedgwood's Mountaineers,' having by him in a
generous spirit of patriotism been clothed and armed, and this in the
completest manner, as riflemen." See _Fragmentary Remains, Literary and
Scientific, of Sir Humphrey Davy, Bart._ (1858), p. 109. The Wedgwood
referred to was the Thomas Wedgwood who assisted Coleridge so opportunely.

In 1806 Wordsworth wrote of Dawson: "His calm and dignified manner,
united with his tall form and beautiful face, produced in me an
impression of sublimity beyond what I ever experienced from the
appearance of any other human being."--ED.]

[Footnote JH: The Napoleonic threat of invasion.--ED.]

[Footnote JI: Dr. John Davy, the editor of his brother Sir Humphry
Davy's _Fragmentary Remains_, was of opinion (see p. 110) that "in
describing the high qualities, intellectual and moral, of the young
soldier, the poet has in his mind the memory of the man whose name was
so properly associated with the company,--idealising according to his
wont,--selecting such qualities as suited his purpose." He refers to Mr.
Wedgwood, the founder of this volunteer corps.--ED.]

[Footnote JJ: Compare the Book of _Joshua_, _passim_; Josephus, _Ant._ v.
I. Also, _Judges_ vii.; and Josephus, _Ant._ v. 6.--ED.]

[Footnote JK: Is it a reference to the Pauline description of Charity (1
Cor. xiii. 7), "Charity ... hopeth all things, endureth all things"?--ED.]

[Footnote JL: Compare _The White Doe of Rylstone_, canto i. l. 42 (vol.
iv. p. 107)--

    In great Eliza's golden time.                                  ED.

[Footnote JM: See the Fenwick note, p. 13.--ED.]

[Footnote JN: See Spenser's _Faërie Queene_, part 1, canto viii. stanza

[Footnote JO: "The pillars of the gateway in front of the mansion
remained when we first took up our abode at Grasmere. Two or three
cottages still remain which are called Nott Houses, from the name of the
gentleman (I have called him a knight) concerning whom these traditions
survive. He was the ancestor of the Knott family, formerly considerable
proprietors in the district."--I. F.]

[Footnote JP: It is clear from the Fenwick note (see p. 13) that the
title, "Sir Alfred Irthing," was Wordsworth's invention. I am indebted
to the Rector of Grasmere--the Rev. Henry M. Fletcher--for the following
information as to the bells of the church, and to the "Nott house":--

"Three bells hang in the tower. That they are 'clear-sounding and
harmonious' I think may be said of them without poetical license. They
have not on them the name and title of their donor. Two of them have
coats of arms. My son believes that the quarterings show that they were
the gifts of the Flemings of Rydal Hall, patrons, for some hundred years,
of the living. The third, and smallest, reports of itself that it was
recast at the expense of Mrs. Dorothy Knott, in the year 1808, and that
Thomas Mears of London did the work. This last inscription is partly in
Latin. The two older bells have on them the inscriptions respectively of
'Soli Deo' and 'Gloria in altissimis Deo.'

"Looking over the old book of Church Warden's accounts, I observe that,
in the year 1732, there is an item

    'Towards casting the bells, and other charges, £40, 3s. 9d.,'

and in the following year, 1733, again

    'Towards casting the bells, and other charges, £49, 0s. 3d.'

This, at a time when the whole of the general charge yearly ranged from
£2 to £5. It was a re-casting, I presume.

"The 'Nott house' still exists, and is the residence of our chief
'statesman,' James Fleming. It is known as 'Knott's Houses.' In the
dialect of this county, when purely used, there is no possessive 's. Mr.
Fletcher's letters being always, _e.g._, spoken of at the post-office
here as 'Mr. Fletcher letters.' 'Nott house,' therefore, meant a house
belonging to Mrs. Dorothy Knott, or her husband's forefathers. A little
group of houses has formed round it; but the old Farm House, I make
little doubt, is the one for which you ask."

See also Charles Lamb's remarks in his third letter to Wordsworth about
_The Excursion_, written in 1814.]

[Footnote JQ: See Wordsworth's note, p. 389.--ED.]

Book Eighth



    _Pastor's apology and apprehensions[726] that he might have
    detained his Auditors too long, with the Pastor's invitation
    to his house_[727]--_Solitary disinclined to comply--rallies the
    Wanderer--and playfully_[728] _draws a comparison between his
    itinerant profession and that of the Knight-errant--which leads
    to Wanderer's giving an account of changes in the Country from
    the manufacturing spirit--Favourable effects--The other side
    of the picture, and chiefly as it has affected the humbler
    classes--Wanderer asserts the hollowness of all national grandeur
    if unsupported by moral worth_[729]--_Physical science unable to
    support itself--Lamentations over an excess of manufacturing
    industry among the humbler Classes of Society--Picture of a Child
    employed in a Cotton-mill--Ignorance and degradation of Children
    among the agricultural Population reviewed--Conversation broken
    off by a renewed Invitation from the Pastor--Path leading to his
    House--Its appearance described--His Daughter--His Wife--His Son
    (a Boy) enters with his Companion--Their happy appearance--The
    Wanderer how affected by the sight of them._

    The pensive Sceptic of the lonely vale
    To those acknowledgments subscribed his own,
    With a sedate compliance, which the Priest
    Failed not to notice, inly pleased, and said:--
    "If ye, by whom invited I began                                5
    These narratives[730] of calm and humble life,
    Be satisfied, 'tis well,--the end is gained;
    And in return for sympathy bestowed
    And patient listening, thanks accept from me.
    --Life, death, eternity! momentous themes                     10
    Are they[731]--and might demand a seraph's tongue,
    Were they not equal to their own support;
    And therefore no incompetence of mine
    Could do them wrong. The universal forms
    Of human nature, in a spot like this,                         15
    Present themselves at once to all men's view:
    Ye wished for act and circumstance, that make
    The individual known and understood;
    And such as my best judgment could select
    From what the place afforded, have been given;                20
    Though apprehensions crossed me that my zeal
    To his might well be likened, who unlocks
    A cabinet stored with gems and pictures--draws
    His treasures forth, soliciting regard[732]
    To this, and this, as worthier than the last,                 25
    Till the spectator, who awhile was pleased                    25
    More than the exhibitor himself, becomes
    Weary and faint, and longs to be released.
    --But let us hence! my dwelling is in sight,
    And there--"
                 At this the Solitary shrunk                      30
    With backward will; but, wanting not address
    That inward motion to disguise, he said
    To his Compatriot, smiling as he spake;
    --"The peaceable remains of this good Knight
    Would be disturbed, I fear, with wrathful scorn,              35
    If consciousness could reach him where he lies
    That one, albeit of these degenerate times,
    Deploring changes past, or dreading change
    Foreseen, had dared to couple, even in thought,
    The fine vocation of the sword and lance                      40
    With the gross aims and body-bending toil
    Of a poor brotherhood who walk the earth
    Pitied, and, where they are not known, despised.

      "Yet, by the good Knight's leave, the two estates
    Are graced with some resemblance. Errant those,               45
    Exiles and wanderers--and the like are these;
    Who, with their burthen, traverse hill and dale,
    Carrying relief for nature's simple wants.
    --What though no higher recompense be sought[733]
    Than honest maintenance, by irksome toil                      50
    Full oft procured, yet may they[734] claim respect,
    Among the intelligent, for what this course
    Enables them to be and to perform.
    Their tardy steps give leisure to observe,
    While solitude permits the mind to feel;                      55
    Instructs, and prompts her[735] to supply defects
    By the division of her inward self
    For grateful converse: and to these poor men
    Nature (I but repeat your favourite boast)
    Is bountiful--go wheresoe'er they may;[736]                   60
    Kind nature's various wealth is all their own.
    Versed in the characters of men; and bound,
    By ties[737] of daily interest, to maintain
    Conciliatory manners and smooth speech;
    Such have been, and still are in their degree,                65
    Examples efficacious to refine
    Rude intercourse; apt agents to expel,[738]
    By importation of unlooked-for arts,
    Barbarian torpor, and blind prejudice;
    Raising, through just gradation, savage life                  70
    To rustic, and the rustic to urbane.
    --Within their moving magazines is lodged
    Power that comes forth to quicken and exalt
    Affections[739] seated in the mother's breast,
    And in the lover's fancy; and to feed                         75
    The sober sympathies of long-tried friends.
    --By these Itinerants, as experienced men,
    Counsel is given; contention they appease
    With gentle language; in remotest wilds,[740]
    Tears wipe away, and pleasant tidings bring;                  80
    Could the proud quest of chivalry do more?"

      "Happy," rejoined the Wanderer, "they who gain
    A panegyric from your generous tongue!
    But, if to these Wayfarers once pertained
    Aught of romantic interest, it is gone.[741]                  85
    Their purer service, in this realm at least,
    Is past for ever.--An inventive Age
    Has wrought, if not with speed of magic, yet
    To most strange issues. I have lived to mark
    A new and unforeseen creation rise                            90
    From out the labours of a peaceful Land
    Wielding her potent enginery to frame
    And to produce, with appetite as keen
    As that of war, which rests not night or day,
    Industrious to destroy![JR] With fruitless pains              95
    Might one like me _now_ visit many a tract
    Which, in his youth, he trod, and trod again,
    A lone pedestrian with a scanty freight,[JS]
    Wished-for, or welcome, wheresoe'er he came--
    Among the tenantry of thorpe and vill;[JT]                   100
    Or straggling burgh, of ancient charter proud,
    And dignified by battlements and towers
    Of some stern castle, mouldering on the brow
    Of a green hill or bank of rugged stream.[JU]
    The foot-path faintly marked, the horse-track wild,          105
    And formidable length of plashy lane,
    (Prized avenues ere others had been shaped
    Or easier links connecting place with place)
    Have vanished--swallowed up by stately roads
    Easy and bold, that penetrate the gloom                      110
    Of Britain's[742] farthest glens. The Earth has lent
    Her waters, Air her breezes;[JV] and the sail
    Of traffic glides with ceaseless intercourse,[743][JW]
    Glistening along the low and woody dale;
    Or, in its progress, on the lofty side,                      115
    Of some bare hill, with wonder kenned from far.[744][JX]

      "Meanwhile, at social Industry's command,
    How quick, how vast an increase! From the germ
    Of some poor hamlet, rapidly produced
    Here a huge town, continuous and compact,                    120
    Hiding the face of earth for leagues--and there,
    Where not a habitation stood before,
    Abodes[745] of men irregularly massed
    Like trees in forests,--spread through spacious tracts,
    O'er which the smoke of unremitting fires                    125
    Hangs permanent,[JY] and plentiful as wreaths
    Of vapour glittering in the morning sun.
    And, wheresoe'er the traveller turns his steps,
    He sees the barren wilderness erased,
    Or disappearing; triumph that proclaims                      130
    How much the mild Directress of the plough
    Owes to alliance with these new-born arts!
    --Hence is the wide sea peopled,--hence[746] the shores
    Of Britain are resorted to by ships
    Freighted from every climate of the world                    135
    With the world's choicest produce. Hence that sum
    Of keels that rest within her crowded ports,
    Or ride at anchor in her sounds and bays;
    That animating spectacle of sails
    That,[747] through her inland regions, to and fro            140
    Pass with the respirations of the tide,
    Perpetual, multitudinous! Finally,
    Hence a dread arm of floating power, a voice
    Of thunder daunting those who would approach
    With hostile purposes the blessed Isle,                      145
    Truth's consecrated residence, the seat
    Impregnable of Liberty and Peace.

      "And yet, O happy Pastor of a flock
    Faithfully watched, and, by that loving care
    And Heaven's good providence, preserved from taint!
    With you I grieve, when on the darker side                   151
    Of this great change I look; and there behold
    Such outrage[748] done to nature as compels
    The indignant power to justify herself;
    Yea, to avenge her violated rights,                          155
    For England's bane.--When soothing darkness spreads
    O'er hill and vale," the Wanderer thus expressed
    His recollections, "and the punctual stars,
    While all things else are gathering to their homes,
    Advance, and in the firmament of heaven                      160
    Glitter--but undisturbing, undisturbed;
    As if their silent company were charged
    With peaceful admonitions for the heart
    Of all-beholding Man, earth's thoughtful lord;
    Then, in full many a region, once like this                  165
    The assured domain of calm simplicity
    And pensive quiet, an unnatural light
    Prepared for never-resting Labour's eyes
    Breaks from a many-windowed fabric huge;[JZ]
    And at the appointed hour a bell is heard,                   170
    Of harsher import than the curfew-knoll
    That spake the Norman Conqueror's stern behest--[KA]
    A local summons to unceasing toil!
    Disgorged are now the ministers of day;
    And, as they issue from the illumined pile,                  175
    A fresh band meets them, at the crowded door--
    And in the courts--and where the rumbling stream,
    That turns the multitude of dizzy wheels,[KB]
    Glares, like a troubled spirit, in its bed
    Among the rocks below. Men, maidens, youths,                 180
    Mother and little children, boys and girls,
    Enter, and each the wonted task resumes
    Within this temple, where is offered up
    To Gain, the master idol of the realm,
    Perpetual sacrifice. Even thus of old                        185
    Our ancestors, within the still domain
    Of vast cathedral or conventual church,
    Their vigils kept; where tapers day and night
    On the dim altar burned continually,
    In token that the House was evermore                         190
    Watching to God. Religious men were they;
    Nor would their reason, tutored to aspire
    Above this transitory world, allow
    That there should pass a moment of the year,[749]
    When in their land the Almighty's service ceased.            195

      "Triumph who will in these profaner rites
    Which we, a generation self-extolled,
    As zealously perform! I cannot share
    His proud complacency:--yet do I exult,[750]
    Casting reserve away, exult to see                           200
    An intellectual mastery exercised
    O'er the blind elements; a purpose given,
    A perseverance fed; almost a soul
    Imparted--to brute matter. I rejoice,
    Measuring the force of those gigantic powers                 205
    That,[751] by the thinking mind, have been compelled
    To serve the will of feeble-bodied Man.
    For with the sense of admiration blends
    The animating hope that time may come
    When, strengthened, yet not dazzled, by the might            210
    Of this dominion over nature gained,
    Men of all lands shall exercise the same
    In due proportion to their country's need;
    Learning, though late, that all true glory rests,
    All praise, all safety, and all happiness,                   215
    Upon the moral law. Egyptian Thebes,
    Tyre, by the margin of the sounding waves,
    Palmyra, central in the desert, fell;
    And the Arts died by which they had been raised.[KC]
    --Call Archimedes from his buried tomb                       220
    Upon the grave[752] of vanished Syracuse,[KD]
    And feelingly the Sage shall make report
    How insecure, how baseless in itself,
    Is the Philosophy whose sway depends
    On[753] mere material instruments;--how weak                 225
    Those arts, and high inventions, if unpropped
    By virtue.--He, sighing with pensive grief,[754]
    Amid his calm abstractions, would admit
    That not the slender privilege is theirs
    To save themselves from blank forgetfulness!"                230

      When from the Wanderer's lips these words had fallen,
    I said, "And, did in truth those vaunted Arts[755]
    Possess such privilege, how could we escape
    Sadness and keen regret, we who revere,[756]
    And would preserve as things above all price,                235
    The old domestic morals of the land,
    Her simple manners, and the stable worth
    That dignified and cheered a low estate?
    Oh! where is now the character of peace,
    Sobriety, and order, and chaste love,                        240
    And honest dealing, and untainted speech,
    And pure good-will, and hospitable cheer;
    That made the very thought of country-life
    A thought of refuge, for a mind detained
    Reluctantly amid the bustling crowd?                         245
    Where now the beauty of the sabbath kept
    With conscientious reverence, as a day
    By the almighty Lawgiver pronounced
    Holy and blest? and where the winning grace
    Of all the lighter ornaments attached                        250
    To time and season, as the year rolled round?"

      "Fled!" was the Wanderer's passionate response,
    "Fled utterly! or only to be traced
    In a few fortunate retreats like this;
    Which I behold with trembling, when I think                  255
    What lamentable change, a year--a month--
    May bring; that brook converting as it runs
    Into an instrument of deadly bane
    For those, who, yet untempted to forsake
    The simple occupations of their sires,                       260
    Drink the pure water of its innocent stream
    With lip almost as pure.--Domestic bliss
    (Or call it comfort, by a humbler name,)
    How art thou blighted for the poor Man's heart!
    Lo! in such neighbourhood, from morn to eve,                 265
    The habitations empty! or perchance
    The Mother left alone,--no helping hand
    To rock the cradle of her peevish babe;
    No daughters round her, busy at the wheel,
    Or in dispatch of each day's little growth                   270
    Of household occupation; no nice arts
    Of needle-work; no bustle at the fire,
    Where once the dinner was prepared with pride;
    Nothing to speed the day, or cheer the mind;
    Nothing to praise, to teach, or to command!                  275

      "The Father, if perchance he still retain
    His old employments, goes to field or wood,
    No longer led or followed by the[757] Sons;
    Idlers perchance they were,--but in _his_ sight;
    Breathing fresh air, and treading the green earth;           280
    'Till their short holiday of childhood ceased,
    Ne'er to return! That birthright now is lost.
    Economists will tell you that the State
    Thrives by the forfeiture--unfeeling thought,
    And false as monstrous! Can the mother thrive                285
    By the destruction of her innocent sons
    In whom a premature necessity
    Blocks out the forms of nature, preconsumes
    The reason, famishes the heart, shuts up
    The infant Being in itself, and makes                        290
    Its very spring a season of decay!
    The lot is wretched, the condition sad,
    Whether a pining discontent survive,
    And thirst for change; or habit hath subdued
    The soul deprest, dejected--even to love                     295
    Of her close tasks, and long captivity.[758]

      Oh, banish far such wisdom as condemns
    A native Briton to these inward chains,
    Fixed in his soul, so early and so deep;
    Without his own consent, or knowledge, fixed!                300
    He is a slave to whom release comes not,
    And cannot come. The boy, where'er he turns,
    Is still a prisoner; when the wind is up
    Among the clouds, and roars through the ancient woods;[759]
    Or when the sun is shining in the east,[760]                 305
    Quiet and calm. Behold him--in the school
    Of his attainments? no; but with the air
    Fanning his temples under heaven's blue arch.
    His raiment, whitened o'er with cotton-flakes
    Or locks of wool, announces whence he comes.                 310
    Creeping his gait and cowering, his lip pale,
    His respiration quick and audible;
    And scarcely could you fancy that a gleam
    Could break from out those languid eyes, or a blush[761]
    Mantle upon his cheek. Is this the form,                     315
    Is that the countenance, and such the port,
    Of no mean Being? One who should be clothed
    With dignity befitting his proud hope;
    Who, in his very childhood, should appear
    Sublime from present purity and joy!                         320
    The limbs increase; but liberty of mind
    Is gone for ever; and this organic frame,
    So joyful in its motions, is become[762]
    Dull, to the joy of her own motions dead;
    And even the touch, so exquisitely poured                    325
    Through the whole body, with a languid will
    Performs its[763] functions; rarely competent
    To impress a vivid feeling on the mind
    Of what there is delightful in the breeze,
    The gentle visitations of the sun,                           330
    Or lapse of liquid element--by hand,
    Or foot, or lip, in summer's warmth--perceived.
    --Can hope look forward to a manhood raised
    On such foundations?"
                          "Hope is none for him!"
    The pale Recluse indignantly exclaimed,                      335
    "And tens of thousands suffer wrong as deep.
    Yet be it asked, in justice to our age,
    If there were not, before those arts appeared,
    These structures rose, commingling old and young,
    And unripe sex with sex, for mutual taint;                   340
    If there were not, _then_[764] in our far-famed Isle,
    Multitudes, who from infancy had breathed
    Air unimprisoned, and had lived at large;
    Yet walked beneath the sun, in human shape,
    As abject, as degraded? At this day,                         345
    Who shall enumerate the crazy huts
    And tottering hovels, whence do issue forth
    A ragged Offspring, with their upright hair[765]
    Crowned like the image of fantastic Fear;
    Or wearing, (shall we say?)[766] in that white growth        350
    An ill-adjusted turban, for defence
    Or fierceness, wreathed around their sun-burnt brows,
    By savage Nature? Shrivelled are their lips;[767]
    Naked, and coloured like the soil, the feet
    On which they stand; as if thereby they drew                 355
    Some nourishment, as trees do by their roots,
    From earth, the common mother of us all.
    Figure and mien, complexion and attire,
    Are leagued to strike dismay; but outstretched hand[768]
    And whining voice denote them supplicants                    360
    For the least boon that pity can bestow.
    Such on the breast of darksome heaths are found;
    And with their parents occupy[769] the skirts
    Of furze-clad commons; such are born and reared
    At the mine's mouth under[770] impending rocks;              365
    Or dwell in chambers of some natural cave;
    Or[771] where their ancestors erected huts,
    For the convenience of unlawful gain,
    In forest purlieus; and the like are bred,
    All England through, where nooks and slips of ground
    Purloined, in times less jealous than our own,               371
    From the green margin of the public way,
    A residence afford them, 'mid the bloom
    And gaiety of cultivated fields.
    Such (we will hope the lowest in the scale)                  375
    Do I remember oft-times to have seen
    'Mid Buxton's dreary heights.[KE] In earnest watch,[772]
    Till the swift vehicle approach, they stand;
    Then, following closely with the cloud of dust,
    An uncouth feat exhibit, and are gone                        380
    Heels over head, like tumblers on a stage.
    --Up from the ground they snatch the copper coin,
    And, on the freight of merry passengers
    Fixing a steady eye, maintain their speed;
    And spin--and pant--and overhead again,                      385
    Wild pursuivants! until their breath is lost,
    Or bounty tires--and every face, that smiled
    Encouragement, hath ceased to look that way.
    --But, like the vagrants of the gipsy tribe,
    These, bred to little pleasure in themselves,                390
    Are profitless to others.
                              "Turn we then
    To Britons born and bred within the pale
    Of civil polity, and early trained
    To earn, by wholesome labour in the field,
    The bread they eat. A sample should I give                   395
    Of what this stock hath long produced to enrich
    The tender age of life, ye would exclaim,[773]
    'Is this the whistling plough-boy whose shrill notes
    Impart new gladness to the morning air!'
    Forgive me if I venture to suspect                           400
    That many, sweet to hear of in soft verse,
    Are of no finer frame. Stiff are his joints;[774]
    Beneath a cumbrous frock, that to the knees
    Invests the thriving churl, his legs appear,
    Fellows to those that[775] lustily upheld                    405
    The wooden stools for everlasting use,
    Whereon[776] our fathers sate. And mark his brow!
    Under whose shaggy canopy are set
    Two eyes--not dim, but of a healthy[777] stare--
    Wide, sluggish, blank, and ignorant, and strange--
    Proclaiming boldly that they never drew                      411
    A look or motion of intelligence
    From infant-conning of the Christ-cross-row,[KF]
    Or puzzling through a primer, line by line,
    Till perfect mastery crown the pains at last.                415
    --What kindly warmth from touch of fostering hand,
    What penetrating power of sun or breeze,
    Shall e'er dissolve the crust wherein his soul
    Sleeps, like a caterpillar sheathed in ice?
    This torpor is no pitiable work                              420
    Of modern ingenuity; no town
    Nor crowded city can[778] be taxed with aught
    Of sottish vice or desperate breach of law,
    To which (and who can tell where or how soon?)
    He may be roused. This Boy the fields produce:               425
    His spade and hoe, mattock and glittering scythe,[779]
    The carter's whip that[780] on his shoulder rests
    In air high-towering with a boorish pomp,
    The sceptre of his sway; his country's name,
    Her equal rights, her churches and her schools--             430
    What have they done for him? And, let me ask,
    For tens of thousands uninformed as he?
    In brief, what liberty of _mind_[781] is here?"

      This ardent[782] sally pleased the mild good Man,
    To whom the appeal couched in its[783] closing words         435
    Was pointedly addressed; and to the thoughts
    That,[784] in assent or opposition, rose
    Within his mind, he seemed prepared to give
    Prompt utterance; but the Vicar interposed[785]
    With invitation urgently[786] renewed.                       440
    --We followed, taking as he led, a path
    Along a hedge of hollies dark and tall,[787][KG]
    Whose flexile boughs low bending with a weight[788]
    Of leafy spray, concealed the stems and roots
    That gave them nourishment. When frosty winds                445
    Howl from the north, what kindly warmth, methought,
    Is here--how grateful this impervious screen![789]
    --Not shaped by simple wearing of the foot
    On rural business passing to and fro
    Was the commodious walk: a careful hand                      450
    Had marked the line, and strewn its[790] surface o'er
    With pure cerulean gravel,[KH] from the heights
    Fetched by a[791] neighbouring brook.--Across the vale
    The stately fence accompanied our steps;
    And thus the pathway, by perennial green                     455
    Guarded and graced, seemed fashioned to unite,
    As by a beautiful yet solemn chain,
    The Pastor's mansion with the house of prayer.

      Like image of solemnity, conjoined
    With feminine allurement soft and fair,                      460
    The mansion's self displayed;--a reverend pile
    With bold projections and recesses deep;
    Shadowy, yet gay and lightsome as it stood
    Fronting the noontide sun. We paused to admire
    The pillared porch, elaborately embossed;                    465
    The low wide windows with their mullions old;
    The cornice, richly fretted, of grey stone;
    And that smooth slope from which the dwelling rose,
    By beds and banks Arcadian of gay flowers
    And flowering shrubs, protected and adorned:                 470
    Profusion bright! and every flower assuming
    A more than natural vividness of hue,
    From unaffected contrast with the gloom
    Of sober cypress, and the darker foil
    Of yew, in which survived some traces, here                  475
    Not unbecoming, of grotesque device
    And uncouth fancy. From behind the roof
    Rose the slim ash and massy sycamore,
    Blending their diverse foliage with the green
    Of ivy, flourishing and thick, that clasped                  480
    The huge round chimneys, harbour of delight
    For wren and redbreast,--where they sit and sing
    Their slender ditties when the trees are bare.
    Nor must I leave untouched (the picture else
    Were incomplete) a relique of old times[792]                 485
    Happily spared, a little Gothic niche
    Of nicest workmanship; that[793] once had held
    The sculptured image of some patron-saint,
    Or of the blessed Virgin, looking down
    On all who entered those religious doors.                    490

      But lo! where from the cocky garden-mount
    Crowned by its antique summer-house--descends,
    Light as the silver fawn, a radiant Girl;
    For she hath recognised her honoured friend,
    The Wanderer ever welcome! A prompt kiss                     495
    The gladsome Child bestows at his request;
    And, up the flowery lawn as we advance,
    Hangs on the old Man with a happy look,
    And with a pretty restless hand of love.
    --We enter--by the Lady of the place                         500
    Cordially greeted. Graceful was her port:[794]
    A lofty stature undepressed by time,
    Whose visitation had not wholly spared[795]
    The finer lineaments of form[796] and face;
    To that complexion brought which prudence trusts in
    And wisdom loves.--But when a stately ship                   506
    Sails in smooth weather by the placid coast[KI]
    On homeward voyage, what--if wind and wave,
    And hardship undergone in various climes,
    Have caused her to abate the virgin pride,                   510
    And that full trim of inexperienced hope
    With which she left her haven--not for this,
    Should the sun strike her, and the impartial breeze
    Play on her streamers, fails she[797] to assume
    Brightness and touching beauty of her own,                   515
    That charm all eyes. So bright, so fair, appeared[798]
    This goodly Matron, shining in the beams
    Of unexpected pleasure.--Soon the board
    Was spread, and we partook a plain repast.

      Here, resting in cool shelter, we beguiled[799]            520
    The mid-day hours with desultory talk;
    From trivial themes to general argument
    Passing, as accident or fancy led,
    Or courtesy prescribed. While question rose
    And answer flowed, the fetters of reserve                    525
    Dropping from every mind, the Solitary[800]
    Resumed the manners of his happier days;
    And[801] in the various conversation bore
    A willing, nay,[802] at times, a forward part;
    Yet with the grace of one who in the world                   530
    Had learned the art of pleasing, and had now
    Occasion given him to display his skill,
    Upon the stedfast 'vantage-ground of truth.
    He gazed, with admiration unsuppressed,
    Upon the landscape of the sun-bright vale,                   535
    Seen, from the shady room in which we sate,
    In softened pérspective; and more than once
    Praised the consummate harmony serene
    Of gravity and elegance, diffused
    Around the mansion and its whole domain;                     540
    Not, doubtless, without help of female taste
    And female care.--"A blessed lot is yours!"
    The words escaped his lip, with a tender sigh
    Breathed over them: but suddenly the door
    Flew open, and a pair of lusty Boys[803]                     545
    Appeared, confusion checking their delight.
    --Not brothers they in feature or attire,
    But fond companions, so I guessed, in field,
    And by the river's margin--whence they come,
    Keen anglers with unusual spoil elated.[804]                 550
    One bears a willow-pannier on his back,
    The boy of plainer garb, whose blush survives
    More deeply tinged. Twin might the other be
    To that fair girl who from the garden-mount
    Bounded:--triumphant entry this for him![805]                555
    Between his hands he holds a smooth blue stone,
    On whose capacious surface see[806] outspread
    Large store of gleaming crimson-spotted trouts;
    Ranged side by side, and lessening by degrees[807]
    Up to the dwarf that tops the pinnacle.                      560
    Upon the board he lays the sky-blue stone
    With its rich freight;[808] their number he proclaims;
    Tells from what pool the noblest had been dragged;
    And where the very monarch of the brook,
    After long struggle, had escaped at last--                   565
    Stealing alternately at them and us
    (As doth his comrade too) a look of pride:
    And, verily, the silent creatures made
    A splendid sight, together thus exposed;
    Dead--but not sullied or deformed by death,                  570
    That seemed to pity what he could not spare.

      But O, the animation in the mien
    Of those two boys! yea in the very words
    With which the young narrator was inspired,
    When, as our questions led, he told at large                 575
    Of that day's prowess! Him might I compare,
    His looks,[809] tones, gestures, eager eloquence,
    To a bold brook that[810] splits for better speed,
    And at the self-same moment, works its way
    Through many channels, ever and anon                         580
    Parted and re-united: his compeer
    To the still lake, whose stillness is to sight[811]
    As beautiful--as grateful to the mind.
    --But to what object shall the lovely Girl
    Be likened? She whose countenance and air                    585
    Unite the graceful qualities of both,
    Even as she shares the pride and joy of both.

      My grey-haired Friend was moved; his vivid eye
    Glistened with tenderness; his mind, I knew,
    Was full; and had, I doubted not, returned,                  590
    Upon this impulse, to the theme--erewhile
    Abruptly broken off. The ruddy boys
    Withdrew, on summons to their well-earned meal;[812]
    And He--to whom all tongues resigned their rights
    With willingness, to whom the general ear                    595
    Listened with readier patience than to strain
    Of music, lute or harp, a long delight
    That ceased not when his voice had ceased--as One
    Who from truth's central point serenely views
    The compass of his argument--began                           600
    Mildly, and with a clear and steady tone.


[Footnote 726: 1836.

    _Pastor's apprehensions_                                     1814.

[Footnote 727: 1836.

    _too long--Invitation to his House--_                        1814.

[Footnote 728: 1836.

    _and somewhat playfully_                                     1814.

[Footnote 729: 1836.

    _by moral worth--gives Instances--_                          1814.

[Footnote 730: 1836.

                        ... I commenced
    Those Narratives ...                                         1814.

    These ...                                                    1827.

[Footnote 731: 1827.

    Are these-- ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 732: 1836.

    Though apprehensions crossed me, in the course
    Of this self-pleasing exercise, that Ye
    My zeal to his would liken, who, possessed
    Of some rare gems, or pictures finely wrought,
    Unlocks his Cabinet, and draws them forth
    One after one,--soliciting regard                            1814.

    My zeal to his would liken, who unlocks
    A Cabinet with gems or pictures stored,
    And draws them forth--soliciting regard                      1827.

    Though apprehensions crossed me that my zeal
    To his might well be likened, who unlocks
    A Cabinet with gems or pictures stored,
    And draws them forth--soliciting regard                      1832.

[Footnote 733: 1836.

    ... they seek                                                1814.

[Footnote 734: 1836.

    ... procured! Yet Such may ...                               1814.

[Footnote 735: 1827.

    And doth instruct her ...                                    1814.

[Footnote 736: 1836.

    (As I have heard you boast with honest pride)
    Nature is bountiful, where'er they go;                       1814.

[Footnote 737: 1832.

    By tie ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 738: 1827.

    ... instruments to excite,                                   1814.

[Footnote 739: 1827.

    The affections ...                                           1814.

[Footnote 740: 1827.

    With healing words; and in remotest Wilds                    1814.

[Footnote 741: 1836.

    ... 'tis gone.                                               1814.

[Footnote 742: 1827.

    Of England's ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 743: 1836.

    ... interchange,                                             1814.

[Footnote 744: 1836.

    ... woody dale,
    Or on the naked mountain's lofty side.                       1814.

[Footnote 745: 1827.

    The abodes ...                                               1814.

[Footnote 746: 1827.

    ... and ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 747: 1836.

    Which ...                                                    1814.

[Footnote 748: 1827.

    ... and there behold,
    Through strong temptation of those gainful Arts,
    Such outrage ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 749: 1814.

    A single moment through the year should pass                    C.

    That even a moment of the year should pass                      C.

[Footnote 750: 1836.

    ... yet I exult,                                             1814.

[Footnote 751: 1827.

    Which ...                                                    1814.

[Footnote 752: 1836.

    Upon the plain ...                                           1814.

[Footnote 753: 1827.

    Is that Philosophy, whose sway is framed
    For ...                                                      1814.

    Is the Philosophy, that only rules
    Over ...                                                       MS.

[Footnote 754: 1845.

    ... He with sighs of pensive grief,                          1814.

[Footnote 755: 1836.

    ... these vaunted Arts                                       1814.

[Footnote 756: 1836.

    Regret and painful sadness, who revere,                      1814.

[Footnote 757: 1820.

    ... his                                                      1814.

[Footnote 758: 1836.

    Of her dull tasks, and close captivity.                      1814.

[Footnote 759: 1836.

    ... and in the ancient woods;                                1814.

[Footnote 760: 1827.

    ... is rising in the heavens,                                1814.

[Footnote 761: 1836.

    From out those languid eyes could break, or blush            1814.

[Footnote 762: 1845.

    Thus gone for ever, this organic Frame,
    Which from heaven's bounty we receive, instinct
    With light, and gladsome motions, soon becomes               1814.

    Is gone for ever; this organic Frame,
    So joyful in her motions, is become                          1827.

    The limbs increase; but this organic Frame,
    So gladsome in its motions, is become                        1836.

[Footnote 763: 1814.

    ... her ...                                                  1827.

The text of 1836 returns to that of 1814.]

[Footnote 764: 1836.

    Then, if there were not, ...                                 1814.

[Footnote 765: 1836.

    ... with their own blanched hair                             1814.

[Footnote 766: 1836.

    Or wearing, we might say, ...                                1814.

[Footnote 767: 1836.

    By savage Nature's unassisted care.                          1814.

[Footnote 768: 1827.

    Are framed to strike dismay; but the outstretched hand       1814.

[Footnote 769: 1836.

    ... dwell upon ...                                           1814.

[Footnote 770: 1836.

    ... and are born and reared
    At the mine's mouth, beneath ...                             1814.

    ... such are born and reared
    At the mine's mouth, beneath ...                             1827.

[Footnote 771: 1836.

    Or in the chambers of some natural cave;
    And ...                                                      1814.

[Footnote 772: 1836.

    ... Upon the watch,                                          1814.

[Footnote 773: 1836.

    Of what this stock produces to enrich
    And beautify the tender age of life,
    A sample fairly culled, ye would exclaim,                    1814.

    Of what this stock produces to enrich
    The tender age of life, ye would exclaim,                    1827.

[Footnote 774: 1836.

    ... frame:--his joints are stiff;                            1814.

[Footnote 775: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 776: 1827.

    On which ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 777: 1814.

    ... vacant ...                                                  C.

[Footnote 778: 1836.

    ... may ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 779: 1836.

    To which in after years he may be rouzed.
    --This Boy the Fields produce: his spade and hoe,            1814.

[Footnote 780: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 781: Italics were first used in 1836.]

[Footnote 782: 1827.

    ... cheerful ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 783: 1827.

    ... those ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 784: 1827.

    Which, ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 785: 1836.

    Prompt utterance; but, rising from our seat,
    The hospitable Vicar interposed                              1814.

[Footnote 786: 1827.

    ... earnestly ...                                            1814.

[Footnote 787: 1827.

    ... of stately hollies framed,                               1814.

[Footnote 788: 1836.

    Whose flexile boughs, descending with a weight               1814.

[Footnote 789: 1827.

    That gave them nourishment. How sweet methought,
    When the fierce wind comes howling from the north,
    How grateful, this impenetrable screen!                      1814.

[Footnote 790: 1836.

    ... the ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 791: 1836.

    ... the ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 792: 1827.

    Nor must I pass unnoticed (leaving else
    The picture incomplete, as it appeared
    Before our eyes) a relique of old times                      1814.

[Footnote 793: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 794: 1827.

    --We enter;--need I tell the courteous guise
    In which the Lady of the place received
    Our little Band, with salutation meet
    To each accorded? Graceful was her port;                     1814.

[Footnote 795: 1827.

    ... had not spared to touch                                  1814.

    Whose gentle visitation had not spared                         MS.

[Footnote 796: 1827.

    ... frame ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 797: 1827.

    ... doth she fail ...                                        1827.

[Footnote 798: 1827.

    ... So bright to us appeared                                 1814.

[Footnote 799: 1827.

      Here in cool shelter, while the scorching heat
    Oppressed the fields, we sate, and entertained               1814.

[Footnote 800: 1827.

    Dropped from our minds; and even the shy Recluse             1814.

[Footnote 801: 1827.

    He ...                                                       1814.

[Footnote 802: 1827.

    ... and, ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 803: 1827.

    He said, and with that exclamation breathed
    A tender sigh;--but, suddenly the door
    Opening, with eager haste two lusty Boys                     1814.

    ... breathed
    A sigh;--but, suddenly, two lusty boys
    Appeared,-- ...                                                MS.

[Footnote 804: 1836.

    And by the river-side--from which they come,
    A pair of Anglers, laden with their spoil.                   1814.

    And by the river's margin--whence they come,
    Anglers elated with unusual spoil.                           1827.

    ... come
    A pair of anglers, laden with fresh spoil.                     MS.

[Footnote 805: 1827.

    The Boy of plainer garb, and more abashed
    In countenance,--more distant and retired.
    Twin might the Other be to that fair Girl
    Who bounded tow'rds us from the garden mount.
    Triumphant entry this to him!--for see,                      1814.

    The Boy of plainer garb, and more abashed
    In countenance, twin might the other be                        MS.

[Footnote 806: 1827.

    ... is ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 807: 1827.

    Ranged side by side, in regular ascent,
    One after one, still lessening by degrees                    1814.

[Footnote 808: 1827.

    ... spoil;-- ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 809: 1836.

    ... look, ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 810: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 811: 1827.

    ... to the eye                                               1814.

[Footnote 812: 1827.

    Did now withdraw to take their well-earned meal;             1814.


[Footnote JR: "What follows in the discourse of the Wanderer, upon the
changes he had witnessed in rural life by the introduction of machinery,
is truly described from what I myself saw during my boyhood and early
youth, and from what was often told me by persons of this humble calling.
Happily, most happily, for these mountains, the mischief was diverted
from the banks of their beautiful streams, and transferred to open and
flat counties abounding in coal, where the agency of steam was found
much more effectual for carrying on those demoralising works. Had it not
been for this invention, long before the present time, every torrent and
river in this district would have had its factory, large and populous
in proportion to the power of the water that could there be commanded.
Parliament has interfered to prevent the night-work which was carried
on in these mills as actively as during the day-time, and by necessity,
still more perniciously; a sad disgrace to the proprietors and to the
nation which could so long tolerate such unnatural proceedings."--I. F.]

[Footnote JS: In 1788, and again in 1794, Wordsworth visited Westmoreland
and Cumberland as a pedestrian. Compare the sixth book of _The Prelude_,
entitled "Cambridge and the Alps" (vol. iii. p. 228).--ED.]

[Footnote JV: See Wordsworth's note, p. 390.--ED.]

[Footnote JT: Thorpe; Anglo-Saxon _Thorp_, a homestead, or hamlet; allied
to _turba_, a crowd (as of houses). Vill; a little village or farm. Lat.
_villa_, dimin. of _vicus_.--ED.]

[Footnote JU: Evidently a reminiscence of Penrith, a "straggling burgh,
of ancient charter proud," with its castle on "the brow of a green hill,"
and with Brougham Castle close at hand, on "bank of rugged stream." See
_The Prelude_ (vol. iii. p. 229), and compare Gray's Journal.--ED.]

[Footnote JW: Mr. Rawnsley has suggested that this may refer to the
introduction of canal boats into England. It is more likely, I think,
that Wordsworth had in his mind's eye

    That animating spectacle of sails
    That, through her inland regions, to and fro
    Pass with the respirations of the tide,
    Perpetual, multitudinous!

referred to in pp. 332-33, a reminiscence perhaps of what he had often
seen in the Bristol Channel.--ED.]

[Footnote JX: See last note. The phrase "_on_ the lofty side of some
bare hill," occasions some difficulty; and, taken in connection with
the previous clause, "air has lent her breezes," suggests the idea of a
windmill, seen in its slow movement, far off on a bare hill-side. But I
rather think it is the progress of the "sails of traffic" on the waters
of an inland tidal channel that is still referred to; the masts and sails
of the vessels being seen moving onwards, while the water itself is
hidden, and the spectacle is therefore by the rustic eye, "with wonder
kenned from far." I would be disposed to think that there was a misprint
here, and that we should read "_from_ the lofty side" instead of "on,"
did the latter reading not occur in the edition of 1814, as well as in
1836, and all the subsequent editions.--ED.]

[Footnote JY: Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield.--ED.]

[Footnote JZ: See the Fenwick note, p. 330.--ED.]

[Footnote KA: The curfew-bell, introduced into England by William of
Normandy, in 1068.--ED.]

[Footnote KB: Compare Mrs. Browning's _Cry of the Children_, stanza

[Footnote KC: The foundation of Thebes was ascribed to the mythical
Manes. The ground on which it stood was large enough to contain a city
equal in extent with ancient Rome, or modern Paris; ... an immense area
was covered with Temples, and their avenues of Sphinxes. (Cf. Diodorus,
i. 40, 50. Strabo, xvii. pp. 805, 815 fol., and Smith's _Dictionary of
Ancient Geography_.) _Tyre_, in Phœnicia, was built partly on an island
and partly on the mainland. The island city "must have arisen in the
period between Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great."... "The western
side of the island is now submerged, to the extent of more than a mile;
and that this was once occupied by the city is shewn by the bases of
columns which may still be discerned. Benjamin of Tudela mentions that,
in the end of the twelfth century, towns, markets, streets, and halls
might be observed at the bottom of the sea." (Smith's _Dict. of Ancient
Geography._) Palmyra, or Tadmor,--the city of palms,--was enlarged, if
not built, by Solomon in the tenth century B.C. It is situated in a
well-watered oasis, in the great Syrian desert. It was an independent
city under the first Roman Emperors, and is called a _colonia_ on the
coins of Caracalla. In 273 A.D. it had dwindled into an insignificant
town. The ruins are inferior to those of Baalbec, but have a grandeur of
their own. They are chiefly of the Corinthian order; although the most
magnificent of them--_the Temple of the Sun_--is Ionic.--ED.]

[Footnote KD: I am indebted to the Rev. H. G. Woods, President of Trinity
College, Oxford, for the following note on the tomb of Archimedes:--

"The tomb now shown at Syracuse as that of Archimedes corresponds
pretty well in point of situation with Cicero's description ('Tusculan
Disputations,' v. 23). It is a little distance to the west of the wall of
Achradina, on the left of the road which mounts the slope of Epipolæ. I
unfortunately cannot remember whether there were any traces of the sphere
and cylinder inscribed on it, which Cicero mentions as there when he
excavated it; but my impression at the time was, that its identity rested
simply on a Ciceronic tradition, and that it was hardly more genuine than
Virgil's tomb at Naples. The tomb itself resembled a number of other
tombs near--among them, the reputed tomb of Timoleon, which is close
by (Cicero speaks of the number of tombs in that spot). But, whatever
the value of the identifying tradition, there can be no doubt that
Wordsworth, in these lines, has thoroughly reproduced the local colour of
the surroundings. As one mounts the road I mentioned, past the tomb of
Archimedes, and gets the view over Achradina--once so populous, and now a
waste area covered with grey rocks and grass, save where, here and there,
it is converted by irrigation into fertile gardens and fields--one has
strongly brought before him how completely Syracuse has 'vanished.' The
modern city is entirely confined within the limits of Ortygia, and the
general impression that one gets of Achradina is that it is the graveyard
of the old city. I remember that this feeling came over me very strongly
at the time, but it was certainly not suggested by Wordsworth's lines,
which I did not remember."--ED.]

[Footnote KE: The heights between Buxton and Macclesfield, at the top of
the Valley of the Gite, near the Cat-and-Fiddle Inn.--ED.]

[Footnote KF: "The alphabet was called the Christ-cross-row, some say
because a cross was prefixed to the alphabet in the old primers; but
as probably from a superstitious custom of writing the alphabet in the
form of a cross, by way of charm." (Archdeacon Nares's _Glossary_, Art.

"The A B C horn-book, containing the alphabet and nine digits. The most
ancient of these infant-school books had the letters arranged in the form
of a Latin cross, with A at the top and Z at the bottom, but afterwards
the letters were arranged in lines, and a + was placed at the beginning
to remind the learner that 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of

                            Mortals ne'er shall know
    More than contain'd of old the Christ-cross Row.

    Tickell, _The Horn-Book_.

(See Brewer's _Dictionary of Phrase and Fable_.)

At the beginning of a poem by the Rev. J. S. Hawker, called _A
Christ-cross-Rhyme_, we find

    Christ, his cross, shall be my speed,
    Teach me, father John, to read.

"The true use of the cross in drawing is to define or mark a point,
especially a point to start or measure from.... But it was impossible
that it could be used long without reference being supposed to be made
to the cross of Christ, and it must soon have been regarded as invoking
Christ's blessing upon the commencement of any writing."--W. W. Skeat in
_Notes and Queries_, 3rd Series, XI. May 4, 1867.

    And from the cross-row plucks the letter G.

    Shakespeare, _Richard III_. act 1. scene i. l. 55.             ED.

[Footnote KG: The "hedge of hollies dark and tall," and the "pure
cerulean gravel" on the walk between the "pastor's mansion" and the
"house of prayer," are all due to the imagination of the poet. There
is nothing now--either at Hackett or at the parsonage in Grasmere--at
all corresponding to the details given in _The Excursion_; and it is
not likely that the surroundings of either house in Wordsworth's time
resembled the description given in the poem.--ED.]

[Footnote KH: See the note on the preceding page.]

[Footnote KI: A reminiscence of St. Bees, or of days spent on the
Cumbrian coast. Compare the two sonnets (1806), _With Ships the sea was
sprinkled far and nigh_, and _Where lies the Land to which yon Ship must
go?_ (vol. iv. pp. 40, 41).--ED.]

Book Ninth



    _Wanderer asserts that an active principle pervades the Universe,
    its noblest seat the human soul--How lively this principle is
    in Childhood--Hence the delight in old Age of looking back
    upon Childhood--The dignity, powers, and privileges of Age
    asserted--These not to be looked for generally but under a just
    government--Right of a human Creature to be exempt from being
    considered as a mere Instrument[813]--The condition of multitudes
    deplored[814]--Former conversation recurred to, and the Wanderer's
    opinions set in a clearer light[815]--Truth placed within reach of
    the humblest --Equality--Happy[816] state of the two Boys again
    adverted to--Earnest wish expressed for a System of National
    Education established universally by Government--Glorious effects
    of this foretold--Walk to the Lake[817]--Grand spectacle from the
    side of a hill--Address of Priest to the Supreme Being--in the
    course of which he contrasts with ancient Barbarism the present
    appearance of the scene before him--The change ascribed to
    Christianity--Apostrophe to his flock, living and dead--Gratitude to
    the Almighty--Return over the Lake--Parting with the Solitary--Under
    what circumstances._

    "To every Form of being is assigned,"
    Thus calmly spake the venerable Sage,
    "An _active_ Principle:--howe'er removed
    From sense and observation, it subsists
    In all things, in all natures; in the stars                    5
    Of azure heaven, the unenduring clouds,
    In flower and tree, in every pebbly stone
    That paves the brooks, the stationary rocks,
    The moving waters, and the invisible air.
    Whate'er exists hath properties that spread                   10
    Beyond itself, communicating good,
    A simple blessing, or with evil mixed;
    Spirit that knows no insulated spot,
    No chasm, no solitude; from link to link
    It circulates, the Soul of all the worlds.[KK]                15
    This is the freedom of the universe;
    Unfolded still the more, more visible,
    The more we know; and yet is reverenced least,
    And least respected in the human Mind,
    Its most apparent home. The food of hope                      20
    Is meditated action; robbed of this
    Her sole support, she languishes and dies.
    We perish also; for we live by hope
    And by desire; we see by the glad light
    And breathe the sweet air of futurity;                        25
    And so we live, or else we have no life.
    To-morrow--nay perchance this very hour
    (For every moment hath[818] its own to-morrow!)
    Those blooming Boys, whose hearts are almost sick
    With present triumph, will be sure to find                    30
    A field before them freshened with the dew
    Of other expectations;--in which course
    Their happy year spins round. The youth obeys
    A like glad impulse; and so moves the man
    'Mid all his apprehensions, cares, and fears,--               35
    Or so he ought to move. Ah! why in age
    Do we revert so fondly to the walks
    Of childhood--but that there the Soul discerns
    The dear memorial footsteps unimpaired
    Of her own native vigour; thence can hear[819]                40
    Reverberations; and a choral song,
    Commingling with the incense that ascends,
    Undaunted, toward[820] the imperishable heavens,
    From her own lonely altar?
                                "Do not think
    That good and wise ever will be allowed,[821]                 45
    Though strength decay, to breathe in such estate
    As shall divide them wholly from the stir
    Of hopeful nature. Rightly it is[822] said
    That Man descends into the Vale of years;
    Yet have I thought that we might also speak,                  50
    And not presumptuously, I trust, of Age,
    As of a final Eminence; though bare
    In aspect and forbidding, yet a point
    On which 'tis not impossible to sit
    In awful sovereignty; a place of power,                       55
    A throne, that[823] may be likened unto his,
    Who, in some placid day of summer, looks
    Down from a mountain-top,--say one of those
    High peaks, that bound the vale where now we are.[KL]
    Faint, and diminished to the gazing eye,                      60
    Forest and field, and hill and dale appear,
    With all the shapes over[824] their surface spread:
    But, while the gross and visible frame of things
    Relinquishes its hold upon the sense,
    Yea almost on the Mind herself,[825] and seems                65
    All unsubstantialized,--how loud the voice
    Of waters, with invigorated peal
    From the full river[KM] in the vale below,
    Ascending! For on that superior height
    Who sits, is disencumbered from the press                     70
    Of near obstructions, and is privileged
    To breathe in solitude, above the host
    Of ever-humming insects, 'mid thin air
    That suits not them. The murmur of the leaves
    Many and idle, visits[826] not his ear:                       75
    This he is freed from, and from thousand notes
    (Not less unceasing, not less vain than these,)
    By which the finer passages of sense
    Are occupied; and the Soul, that would incline
    To listen, is prevented or deterred.                          80

      "And may it not be hoped, that, placed by age
    In like removal, tranquil though severe,
    We are not so removed for utter loss;
    But for some favour, suited to our need?
    What more than that the severing should confer[827]           85
    Fresh power to commune with the invisible world,
    And hear the mighty stream of tendency[KN]
    Uttering, for elevation of our thought,
    A clear sonorous voice, inaudible
    To the vast multitude; whose doom it is                       90
    To run the giddy round of vain delight,
    Or fret and labour on the Plain below.

      "But, if to such sublime ascent the hopes
    Of Man may rise, as to a welcome close
    And termination of his mortal course;                         95
    Them only can such hope inspire whose minds
    Have not been starved by absolute neglect;
    Nor bodies crushed by unremitting toil;
    To whom kind Nature, therefore, may afford
    Proof of the sacred love she bears for all;                  100
    Whose birthright Reason, therefore, may ensure.
    For me, consulting what I feel within
    In times when most existence with herself
    Is satisfied, I cannot but believe,
    That, far as kindly Nature hath free scope                   105
    And Reason's sway predominates; even so far,
    Country, society, and time itself,
    That saps the individual's bodily frame,
    And lays the generations low in dust,
    Do, by the almighty Ruler's grace, partake                   110
    Of one maternal spirit, bringing forth
    And cherishing with ever-constant love,
    That tires not, nor betrays. Our life is turned
    Out of her course, wherever man is made
    An offering, or a sacrifice, a tool                          115
    Or implement, a passive thing employed
    As a brute mean, without acknowledgment
    Of common right or interest in the end;
    Used or abused, as selfishness may prompt.
    Say, what can follow for a rational soul                     120
    Perverted thus, but weakness in all good,
    And strength in evil? Hence an after-call
    For chastisement, and custody, and bonds,
    And oft-times Death, avenger of the past,
    And the sole guardian in whose hands we dare                 125
    Entrust the future.--Not for these sad issues
    Was Man created; but to obey the law
    Of life, and hope, and action. And 'tis known
    That when we stand upon our native soil,
    Unelbowed by such objects as oppress                         130
    Our active powers, those powers themselves become
    Strong to subvert our noxious qualities:
    They sweep distemper from the busy day,
    And make the chalice of the big round year
    Run o'er with gladness;[828] whence the Being moves          135
    In beauty through the world; and all who see
    Bless him, rejoicing in his neighbourhood."

      "Then," said the Solitary, "by what force[829]
    Of language shall a feeling heart express
    Her sorrow for that multitude in whom                        140
    We look for health from seeds that have been sown
    In sickness, and for increase in a power
    That works but by extinction? On themselves
    They cannot lean, nor turn to their own hearts
    To know what they must do; their wisdom is                   145
    To look into the eyes of others, thence
    To be instructed what they must avoid:
    Or rather, let us say, how least observed,
    How with most quiet and most silent death,
    With the least taint and injury to the air                   150
    The oppressor breathes, their human form divine,
    And their immortal soul, may waste away."

      The Sage rejoined, "I thank you--you have spared
    My voice the utterance of a keen regret,
    A wide compassion which with you I share.                    155
    When, heretofore, I placed before your sight
    A Little-one,[830] subjected to the arts
    Of modern ingenuity, and made
    The senseless member of a vast machine,
    Serving as doth a spindle or a wheel;                        160
    Think not, that, pitying him, I could forget
    The rustic Boy, who walks the fields, untaught;
    The slave of ignorance, and oft of want,
    And miserable hunger. Much, too much,
    Of this unhappy lot, in early youth                          165
    We both have witnessed, lot which I myself
    Shared, though in mild and merciful degree:
    Yet was the[831] mind to hinderances exposed,
    Through which I[832] struggled, not without distress
    And sometimes injury, like a lamb[833] enthralled            170
    'Mid thorns and brambles; or a bird that breaks
    Through a strong net, and mounts upon the wind,
    Though with her plumes impaired. If they, whose souls
    Should open while they range the richer fields
    Of merry England, are obstructed less,                       175
    By indigence, their ignorance is not less,
    Nor less to be deplored. For who can doubt
    That tens of thousands at this day exist
    Such as the boy you painted, lineal heirs
    Of those who once were vassals of her soil,                  180
    Following its fortunes like the beasts or trees
    Which it sustained. But no one takes delight
    In this oppression; none are proud of it;
    It bears no sounding name, nor ever bore;
    A standing grievance, an indigenous vice                     185
    Of every country under heaven. My thoughts
    Were turned to evils that are new and chosen,
    A bondage lurking under shape of good,--
    Arts, in themselves beneficent and kind,
    But all too fondly followed and too far;--                   190
    To victims, which the merciful can see
    Nor think that they are victims--turned to wrongs,
    By women, who have children of their own,
    Beheld without compassion, yea with praise!
    I spake of mischief by the wise diffused[834]                195
    With gladness, thinking that the more it spreads
    The healthier, the securer, we become;
    Delusion which a moment may destroy!
    Lastly I mourned for those whom I had seen
    Corrupted and cast down, on favoured ground,                 200
    Where circumstance and nature had combined
    To shelter innocence, and cherish love;
    Who, but for this intrusion, would have lived,
    Possessed of health, and strength, and peace of mind;
    Thus would have lived, or never have been born!              205

      "Alas! what differs more than man from man!
    And whence that difference? Whence but from himself?
    For see the universal Race endowed
    With the same upright form!--The sun is fixed,
    And the infinite magnificence of heaven                      210
    Fixed, within reach[835] of every human eye;
    The sleepless ocean murmurs for all ears;
    The vernal field infuses fresh delight
    Into all hearts. Throughout the world of sense,
    Even as an object is sublime or fair,                        215
    That object is laid open to the view
    Without reserve or veil; and as a power
    Is salutary, or an influence sweet,
    Are each and all enabled to perceive
    That power, that influence, by impartial law.                220
    Gifts nobler are vouchsafed alike to all;
    Reason, and, with that reason, smiles and tears;
    Imagination, freedom in the will;
    Conscience to guide and check; and death to be
    Foretasted, immortality conceived                            225
    By all,--a blissful immortality,
    To them whose holiness on earth shall make
    The Spirit capable of heaven, assured.[836]
    Strange, then, nor less than monstrous, might be deemed
    The failure, if the Almighty, to this point                  230
    Liberal[837] and undistinguishing, should hide
    The excellence of moral qualities
    From common understanding; leaving truth
    And virtue, difficult, abstruse, and dark;
    Hard to be won, and only by a few;                           235
    Strange, should He deal herein with nice respects,
    And frustrate all the rest! Believe it not:
    The primal duties shine aloft--like stars;
    The charities that soothe, and heal, and bless,
    Are scattered at the feet of Man--like flowers.              240
    The generous inclination, the just rule,
    Kind wishes, and good actions, and pure thoughts--
    No mystery is here! Here is no boon
    For high--yet not for low; for proudly graced--
    Yet[838] not for meek of heart. The smoke ascends            245
    To heaven as lightly from the cottage-hearth
    As from the haughtiest[839] palace. He, whose soul
    Ponders this true equality, may walk
    The fields of earth with gratitude and hope;
    Yet, in that meditation, will he find                        250
    Motive to sadder grief, as we have found;
    Lamenting ancient virtues overthrown,
    And for the injustice grieving, that hath made
    So wide a difference between[840] man and man.

      "Then let us rather fix our gladdened thoughts[841]        255
    Upon the brighter scene. How blest that pair
    Of blooming Boys (whom we beheld even now)
    Blest in their several and their common lot!
    A few short hours of each returning day
    The thriving prisoners of their village-school:              260
    And thence let loose, to seek their pleasant homes
    Or range the grassy lawn in vacancy;
    To breathe and to be happy, run and shout
    Idle,--but no delay, no harm, no loss;
    For every genial power of heaven and earth,                  265
    Through all the seasons of the changeful year,
    Obsequiously doth take upon herself
    To labour for them; bringing each in turn
    The tribute of enjoyment, knowledge, health,
    Beauty, or strength! Such privilege is theirs,               270
    Granted alike in the outset of their course
    To both; and, if that partnership must cease,
    I grieve not," to the Pastor here he turned,
    "Much as I glory in that child of yours,
    Repine not for his cottage-comrade, whom                     275
    Belike no higher destiny awaits
    Than the old hereditary wish fulfilled;
    The wish for liberty to live--content
    With what Heaven grants, and die--in peace of mind,
    Within the bosom of his native vale.                         280
    At least, whatever fate the noon of life
    Reserves for either, sure it is[842] that both
    Have been permitted to enjoy the dawn;
    Whether regarded as a jocund time,
    That in itself may terminate, or lead                        285
    In course of nature to a sober eve.
    Both have been fairly dealt with; looking back
    They will allow that justice has in them
    Been shown, alike to body and to mind."

      He paused, as if revolving in his soul                     290
    Some weighty matter; then, with fervent voice
    And an impassioned majesty, exclaimed--

      "O for the coming of that glorious time
    When, prizing knowledge as her noblest wealth
    And best protection, this imperial Realm                     295
    While she exacts allegiance, shall admit
    An obligation, on her part, to _teach_
    Them who are born to serve her and obey;
    Binding herself by statute[KO] to secure
    For all the children whom her soil maintains                 300
    The rudiments of letters, and inform[843]
    The mind with moral and religious truth,
    Both understood and practised,--so that none,
    However destitute, be left to droop
    By timely culture unsustained; or run                        305
    Into a wild disorder; or be forced
    To drudge through a weary life without the help[844]
    Of intellectual implements and tools;
    A savage horde among the civilised,
    A servile band among the lordly free!                        310
    This sacred right, the lisping babe proclaims[845]
    To be inherent in him, by Heaven's will,
    For the protection of his innocence;
    And the rude boy--who, having overpast
    The sinless age, by conscience is enrolled,                  315
    Yet mutinously knits his angry brow,
    And lifts his wilful hand on mischief bent,
    Or turns the godlike[846] faculty of speech
    To impious use--by process indirect
    Declares his due, while he makes known his need.             320
    --This sacred right is fruitlessly announced,
    This universal plea in vain addressed,
    To eyes and ears of parents who themselves
    Did, in the time of their necessity,
    Urge it in vain; and, therefore, like a prayer               325
    That from the humblest floor ascends to heaven,
    It mounts to reach the State's parental ear;
    Who, if indeed she own a mother's heart,
    And be not most unfeelingly devoid
    Of gratitude to Providence, will grant                       330
    The unquestionable good--which, England, safe
    From interference of external force,
    May grant at leisure; without risk incurred
    That what in wisdom for herself she doth,
    Others shall e'er be able to undo.                           335

      "Look! and behold, from Calpe's sunburnt cliffs[KP]
    To the flat margin of the Baltic sea,
    Long-reverenced titles cast away as weeds;
    Laws overturned; and territory split,
    Like fields of ice rent by the polar wind,                   340
    And forced to join in less obnoxious shapes
    Which,[847] ere they gain consistence, by a gust
    Of the same breath are shattered and destroyed.
    Meantime the sovereignty of these fair Isles
    Remains entire and indivisible:                              345
    And, if that ignorance were removed, which breeds[848]
    Within the compass of their several shores
    Dark discontent, or loud commotion, each
    Might still preserve[849] the beautiful repose
    Of heavenly bodies shining in their spheres.                 350
    --The discipline of slavery is unknown
    Among[850] us,--hence the more do we require
    The discipline of virtue; order else
    Cannot subsist, nor confidence, nor peace.
    Thus, duties rising out of good possest                      355
    And prudent caution needful to avert
    Impending evil, equally require
    That the whole people should be taught and trained.[851]
    So shall licentiousness and black resolve
    Be rooted out, and virtuous habits take                      360
    Their place; and genuine piety descend,
    Like[852] an inheritance, from age to age.

      "With such foundations laid, avaunt the fear
    Of numbers crowded on their native soil,
    To the prevention of all healthful growth                    365
    Through mutual injury! Rather in the law
    Of increase and the mandate from above
    Rejoice!--and ye have special cause for joy.
    --For, as the element of air affords
    An easy passage to the industrious bees                      370
    Fraught with their burthens; and a way as smooth
    For those ordained to take their sounding flight
    From the thronged hive, and settle where they list
    In fresh abodes--their labour to renew;
    So the wide waters, open to the power,                       375
    The will, the instincts, and appointed needs
    Of Britain, do invite her to cast off
    Her swarms, and in succession send them forth;
    Bound to establish new communities
    On every shore whose aspect favours hope                     380
    Or bold adventure; promising to skill
    And perseverance their deserved reward.

      "Yes," he continued, kindling as he spake,
    "Change wide, and deep, and silently performed,
    This Land shall witness; and as days roll on,                385
    Earth's universal frame shall feel the effect;
    Even till the smallest habitable rock,
    Beaten by lonely billows, hear the songs
    Of humanised society; and bloom
    With civil arts, that shall breathe forth their fragrance,[853]
    A grateful tribute to all-ruling Heaven.                     391
    From culture, unexclusively bestowed
    On Albion's noble Race in freedom born,[854]
    Expect these mighty issues: from the pains
    And faithful[855] care of unambitious schools                395
    Instructing simple childhood's ready ear:
    Thence look for these magnificent results!
    --Vast the circumference of hope--and ye
    Are at its centre, British Lawgivers;
    Ah! sleep not there in shame! Shall Wisdom's voice
    From out the bosom of these troubled times                   401
    Repeat the dictates of her calmer mind,
    And shall the venerable halls ye fill
    Refuse to echo the sublime decree?
    Trust not to partial care a general good;                    405
    Transfer not to futurity a work
    Of urgent need.--Your Country must complete
    Her glorious destiny. Begin even now,
    Now, when oppression, like the Egyptian plague
    Of darkness, stretched o'er guilty Europe,[KQ] makes         410
    The brightness more conspicuous that invests
    The happy Island where ye think and act;
    Now, when destruction is a prime pursuit,
    Show to the wretched nations for what end
    The powers of civil polity were given."                      415

      Abruptly here, but with a graceful air,
    The Sage broke off. No sooner had he ceased
    Than, looking forth, the gentle Lady said,
    "Behold the shades of afternoon have fallen
    Upon this flowery slope; and see--beyond--                   420
    The silvery lake is streaked with placid blue;[856]
    As if preparing for the peace of evening.[KR]
    How temptingly the landscape shines! The air
    Breathes invitation; easy is the walk
    To the lake's margin, where a boat lies moored               425
    Under a[857] sheltering tree."--Upon this hint
    We rose together: all were pleased; but most
    The beauteous girl, whose cheek was flushed with joy.
    Light as a sunbeam glides along the hills
    She vanished--eager to impart the scheme                     430
    To her loved brother and his shy compeer.
    --Now was there bustle in the Vicar's house
    And earnest preparation.--Forth we went,
    And down the vale along the streamlet's edge[858]
    Pursued our way, a broken company,                           435
    Mute or conversing, single or in pairs.
    Thus having reached a bridge, that overarched
    The hasty rivulet where it lay becalmed
    In a deep pool, by happy chance we saw
    A two-fold image; on a grassy bank                           440
    A snow-white ram, and in the crystal flood
    Another and the same! Most beautiful,
    On the green turf, with his imperial front
    Shaggy and bold, and wreathèd horns superb,
    The breathing creature stood; as beautiful,                  445
    Beneath him, shewed his shadowy counterpart.
    Each had his glowing mountains, each his sky,
    And each seemed centre of his own fair world:
    Antipodes unconscious of each other,
    Yet, in partition, with their several spheres,               450
    Blended in perfect stillness, to our sight![KS]

      "Ah! what a pity were it to disperse,
    Or to disturb, so fair a spectacle,
    And yet a breath can do it!"
                                 These few words
    The Lady whispered, while we stood and gazed                 455
    Gathered together, all in still delight,
    Not without awe. Thence passing on, she said
    In like low voice to my particular ear,
    "I love to hear that eloquent old Man
    Pour forth his meditations, and descant                      460
    On human life from infancy to age.
    How pure his spirit! in what vivid hues
    His mind gives back the various forms of things,
    Caught in their fairest, happiest, attitude!
    While he is speaking, I have power to see                    465
    Even as he sees; but when his voice hath ceased,
    Then, with a sigh, sometimes I feel,[859] as now,
    That combinations so serene and bright
    Cannot be lasting in a world like ours,
    Whose highest beauty, beautiful as it is,                    470
    Like that reflected in yon quiet pool,
    Seems but a fleeting sun-beam's gift, whose peace
    The sufferance only of a breath of air!"[860]

      More had she said--but sportive shouts were heard
    Sent from the jocund hearts of those two Boys,               475
    Who, bearing each a basket on his arm,
    Down the green field came tripping after us.
    With caution we embarked; and now the pair
    For prouder service were addrest; but each,
    Wishful to leave an opening for my choice,                   480
    Dropped the light oar his eager hand had seized.
    Thanks given for that becoming courtesy,
    Their place I took--and for a grateful office[861]
    Pregnant with recollections of the time
    When, on thy bosom, spacious Windermere![KT]                 485
    A Youth, I practised this delightful art;
    Tossed on the waves alone, or 'mid a crew
    Of joyous comrades. Soon as the reedy marge
    Was cleared, I dipped, with arms accordant, oars[862]
    Free from obstruction; and the boat advanced                 490
    Through crystal water, smoothly as a hawk,
    That, disentangled from the shady boughs
    Of some thick wood, her place of covert, cleaves
    With correspondent wings the abyss of air.
    --"Observe," the Vicar said, "yon rocky isle                 495
    With birch-trees fringed;[KU] my hand shall guide the helm,
    While thitherward we shape[863] our course; or while
    We seek that other, on the western shore;
    Where the bare columns of those lofty firs,[KU]
    Supporting gracefully a massy dome                           500
    Of sombre[864] foliage, seem to imitate
    A Grecian temple rising from the Deep."

      "Turn where we may," said I, "we cannot err
    In this delicious region."--Cultured slopes,
    Wild tracts of forest-ground, and scattered groves,          505
    And mountains bare, or clothed with ancient woods,
    Surrounded us; and, as we held our way
    Along the level of the glassy flood,
    They ceased not to surround us; change of place,
    From kindred features diversely combined,                    510
    Producing change of beauty ever new.[KV]
    --Ah! that such beauty, varying in the light
    Of living nature, cannot be portrayed
    By words, nor by the pencil's silent skill;
    But is the property of him alone                             515
    Who hath beheld it, noted it with care,
    And in his mind recorded it with love!
    Suffice it, therefore, if the rural Muse
    Vouchsafe sweet influence, while her Poet speaks
    Of trivial occupations well devised,                         520
    And unsought pleasures springing up by chance;
    As if some friendly Genius had ordained
    That, as the day thus far had been enriched
    By acquisition of sincere delight,
    The same should be continued to its close.                   525

      One spirit animating old and young,
    A gipsy-fire we kindled on the shore
    Of the fair Isle with birch-trees fringed--and there,
    Merrily seated in a ring, partook
    A choice repast--served by our young companions[865]         530
    With rival earnestness and kindred glee.[866]
    Launched from our hands the smooth stone skimmed the lake;
    With shouts we raised[867] the echoes;--stiller sounds
    The lovely Girl supplied--a simple song,
    Whose low tones reached not to the distant rocks             535
    To be repeated thence,[868] but gently sank
    Into our hearts; and charmed the peaceful flood.
    Rapaciously we gathered flowery spoils
    From land and water; lilies of each hue--
    Golden and white, that float upon the waves,                 540
    And court the wind; and leaves of that shy plant,
    (Her flowers were shed) the lily of the vale,[KW]
    That loves the ground, and from the sun withholds
    Her pensive beauty; from the breeze her sweets.

      Such product, and such pastime, did the place              545
    And season yield; but, as we re-embarked,
    Leaving, in quest of other scenes, the shore
    Of that wild spot, the Solitary said
    In a low voice, yet careless who might hear,
    "The fire, that burned so brightly to our wish,              550
    Where is it now?--Deserted on the beach--
    Dying, or dead![869] Nor shall the fanning breeze
    Revive its ashes. What care we for this,
    Whose ends are gained? Behold an emblem here
    Of one day's pleasure, and all mortal joys!                  555
    And, in this unpremeditated slight
    Of that which is no longer needed, see
    The common course of human gratitude!"

      This plaintive note disturbed not the repose
    Of the still evening. Right across the lake                  560
    Our pinnace moves; then, coasting creek and bay,
    Glades we behold, and into thickets peep,
    Where couch the spotted deer;[KX] or raised our eyes
    To shaggy steeps on which the careless goat
    Browsed by the side of dashing waterfalls;[KY]               565
    And thus the bark, meandering with the shore,
    Pursued her voyage, till a natural pier
    Of jutting rock invited us to land.[870]

      Alert to follow as the Pastor led,
    We clomb a green hill's side;[KZ] and, as we clomb,          570
    The Valley, opening out her bosom, gave
    Fair prospect, intercepted less and less,[871]
    O'er[872] the flat meadows and indented coast
    Of the smooth lake,[873] in compass seen:--far off,
    And yet conspicuous, stood the old Church-tower,[LA]         575
    In majesty presiding over fields
    And habitations seemingly preserved[874]
    From all intrusion of the restless world[875]
    By rocks impassable and mountains huge.

      Soft heath this elevated spot supplied,                    580
    And choice of moss-clad stones, whereon we couched
    Or sate reclined; admiring quietly
    The general aspect of the scene; but each
    Not seldom over anxious to make known[876]
    His own discoveries; or to favourite points                  585
    Directing notice, merely from a wish
    To impart a joy, imperfect while unshared.
    That rapturous moment never[877] shall I forget
    When these particular interests were effaced
    From every mind!--Already had the sun,                       590
    Sinking with less than ordinary state,
    Attained his western bound; but rays of light--
    Now suddenly diverging from the orb
    Retired behind the mountain tops or veiled
    By the dense air--shot upwards to the crown                  595
    Of the blue firmament--aloft, and wide:
    And multitudes of little floating clouds,
    Through their ethereal texture pierced--ere we,
    Who saw, of change were conscious--had become[878]
    Vivid as fire; clouds separately poised,--                   600
    Innumerable multitude of forms
    Scattered through half the circle of the sky;
    And giving back, and shedding each on each,
    With prodigal communion, the bright hues
    Which from the unapparent fount of glory                     605
    They had imbibed, and ceased not to receive.
    That which the heavens displayed, the liquid deep
    Repeated; but with unity sublime!

      While from the grassy mountain's open side[LB]
    We gazed, in silence hushed, with eyes intent                610
    On the refulgent spectacle, diffused
    Through earth, sky, water, and all visible space,
    The Priest in holy transport thus exclaimed:

      "Eternal Spirit! universal God!
    Power inaccessible to human thought,                         615
    Save by degrees and steps which thou hast deigned
    To furnish; for this effluence of thyself,[879]
    To the infirmity of mortal sense
    Vouchsafed; this local transitory type
    Of thy paternal splendours, and the pomp                     620
    Of those who fill thy courts in highest heaven,
    The radiant Cherubim;--accept the thanks
    Which we, thy humble Creatures, here convened,
    Presume to offer; we, who--from the breast
    Of the frail earth, permitted to behold                      625
    The faint reflections only of thy face--
    Are yet exalted, and in soul adore!
    Such as they are who in thy presence stand
    Unsullied, incorruptible, and drink
    Imperishable majesty streamed forth                          630
    From thy empyreal throne, the elect of earth
    Shall be--divested at the appointed hour
    Of all dishonour, cleansed from mortal stain.
    --Accomplish, then, their number; and conclude
    Time's weary course! Or if, by thy decree,                   635
    The consummation that will come by stealth
    Be yet far distant, let thy Word prevail,
    Oh! let thy Word prevail, to take away
    The sting of human nature. Spread the law,
    As it is written in thy holy book,                           640
    Throughout all lands: let every nation hear
    The high behest, and every heart obey;
    Both for the love of purity, and hope
    Which it affords, to such as do thy will
    And persevere in good, that they shall rise,                 645
    To have a nearer view of thee, in heaven.
    --Father of good! this prayer in bounty grant,
    In mercy grant it, to thy wretched sons.
    Then, nor till then, shall persecution cease,
    And cruel wars expire. The way is marked,                    650
    The guide appointed, and the ransom paid.
    Alas! the nations, who of yore received
    These tidings, and in Christian temples meet
    The sacred truth to acknowledge, linger still;
    Preferring bonds and darkness to a state                     655
    Of holy freedom, by redeeming love
    Proffered to all, while yet on earth detained.

      "So fare the many; and the thoughtful few,
    Who in the anguish of their souls bewail
    This dire perverseness, cannot choose but ask,               660
    Shall it endure?--Shall enmity and strife,
    Falsehood and guile, be left to sow their seed;
    And the kind never perish? Is the hope
    Fallacious, or shall righteousness obtain
    A peaceable dominion, wide as earth,                         665
    And ne'er to fail? Shall that blest day arrive
    When they, whose choice or lot it is to dwell
    In crowded cities, without fear shall live
    Studious of mutual benefit; and he,
    Whom Morn awakens, among dews and flowers[880]               670
    Of every clime, to till the lonely field,
    Be happy in himself? The law of faith
    Working through love, such conquest shall it gain,
    Such triumph over sin and guilt achieve?
    Almighty Lord, thy further grace impart!                     675
    And with that help the wonder shall be seen
    Fulfilled, the hope accomplished; and thy praise
    Be sung with transport and unceasing joy.

      "Once," and with mild demeanour, as he spake,
    On us the venerable Pastor turned                            680
    His beaming eye that had been raised[881] to Heaven,
    "Once,[882] while the Name, Jehovah, was a sound
    Within the circuit of this sea-girt isle
    Unheard, the savage nations bowed the head[883]
    To Gods delighting in remorseless deeds;                     685
    Gods which themselves had fashioned, to promote
    Ill purposes, and flatter foul desires.
    Then, in the bosom of yon mountain-cove,[LC]
    To those inventions of corrupted man
    Mysterious rites were solemnised; and there--                690
    Amid impending rocks and gloomy woods--
    Of those terrific Idols some received[884]
    Such dismal service, that the loudest voice
    Of the swoln cataracts (which now are heard
    Soft murmuring) was too weak to overcome,                    695
    Though aided by wild winds, the groans and shrieks
    Of human victims, offered up to appease
    Or to propitiate. And, if living eyes
    Had visionary faculties to see
    The thing that hath been as the thing that is,               700
    Aghast we might behold this crystal[885] Mere
    Bedimmed with smoke, in wreaths voluminous,
    Flung from the body of devouring fires,
    To Taranis erected[LD] on the heights
    By priestly hands, for sacrifice performed                   705
    Exultingly, in view of open day
    And full assemblage of a barbarous host;
    Or to Andates, female Power[LE] who gave
    (For so they fancied) glorious victory.
    --A few rude monuments of mountain-stone                     710
    Survive; all else is swept away.--How bright
    The appearances of things! From such, how changed
    The existing worship; and with those compared,
    The worshippers how innocent and blest!
    So wide the difference, a willing mind                       715
    Might almost think, at this affecting hour,[886]
    That paradise, the lost abode of man,
    Was raised again: and to a happy few,
    In its original beauty, here restored.

      "Whence but from thee, the true and only God,              720
    And from the faith derived through Him who bled
    Upon the cross, this marvellous advance
    Of good from evil; as if one extreme
    Were left, the other gained.--O ye, who come
    To kneel devoutly in yon reverend Pile,[LF]                  725
    Called to such office by the peaceful sound
    Of sabbath bells; and ye, who sleep in earth,
    All cares forgotten, round its hallowed walls!
    For you, in presence of this little band
    Gathered together on the green hill-side,                    730
    Your Pastor is emboldened to prefer
    Vocal thanksgivings to the eternal King;
    Whose love, whose counsel, whose commands, have made
    Your very poorest rich in peace of thought
    And in good works; and him, who is endowed                   735
    With scantiest knowledge, master of all truth
    Which the salvation of his soul requires.
    Conscious of that abundant favour showered
    On you, the children of my humble care,
    And this dear land, our country, while on earth              740
    We sojourn, have I lifted up my soul,
    Joy giving voice to fervent gratitude.[887]
    These barren rocks, your stern inheritance;
    These fertile fields, that recompense your pains;
    The shadowy vale, the sunny mountain-top;                    745
    Woods waving in the wind their lofty heads,
    Or hushed; the roaring waters, and[888] the still--
    They see the offering of my lifted hands,
    They hear my lips present their sacrifice,
    They know if I be silent, morn or even:[LG]                  750
    For, though in whispers speaking, the full heart
    Will find a vent; and thought is praise to him,
    Audible praise, to thee, omniscient Mind,
    From whom all gifts descend, all blessings flow!"

      This vesper-service closed, without delay,                 755
    From that exalted station to the plain
    Descending, we pursued our homeward course,
    In mute composure, o'er the shadowy lake,
    Under[889] a faded sky. No trace remained
    Of those celestial splendours; grey the vault--              760
    Pure, cloudless, ether; and the star of eve
    Was wanting; but inferior lights appeared
    Faintly, too faint almost for sight; and some
    Above the darkened hills stood boldly forth
    In twinkling lustre, ere the boat attained                   765
    Her mooring-place; where, to the sheltering tree,
    Our youthful Voyagers bound fast her prow,
    With prompt yet careful hands. This done, we paced
    The dewy fields; but ere the Vicar's door
    Was reached, the Solitary checked his steps;                 770
    Then, intermingling thanks, on each bestowed
    A farewell salutation; and, the like
    Receiving, took the slender path that leads
    To the one cottage in the lonely dell:[LH]
    But turned not without welcome promise made[890]             775
    That he would share the pleasures and pursuits
    Of yet another summer's day,[LI] not loth
    To wander with us through the fertile vales,[891]
    And o'er the mountain-wastes. "Another sun,"
    Said he, "shall shine upon us, ere we part;                  780
    Another sun, and peradventure more;
    If time, with free consent, be yours[892] to give,
    And season favours."
                         To enfeebled Power,
    From this communion with uninjured Minds,
    What renovation had been brought; and what                   785
    Degree of healing to a wounded spirit,
    Dejected, and habitually disposed
    To seek, in degradation of the Kind,
    Excuse and solace for her own defects;
    How far those erring notions were reformed;                  790
    And whether aught, of tendency as good
    And pure, from further intercourse ensued;
    This--if delightful hopes, as heretofore,
    Inspire the serious song, and gentle Hearts
    Cherish, and lofty Minds approve the past--                  795
    My future labours may not leave untold.


[Footnote 813: 1836.

    _Vicious inclinations are best kept under by giving good
    ones an opportunity to shew themselves_--                    1814.

[Footnote 814: 1836.

    _deplored from want of due respect to this truth on
    the part of their superiors in society_--                    1814.

[Footnote 815: 1836.

    _Genuine principles of equality_--                           1814.

[Footnote 816: 1836.

    _humblest--Happy_                                            1814.

[Footnote 817: 1836.

    _Wanderer breaks off--Walk to the Lake--embark--Description
    of scenery and amusements--_                                 1814.

[Footnote 818: 1820.

    ... has ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 819: 1827.

    Of her own native vigour--but for this,
    That it is given her thence in age to hear                   1814.

[Footnote 820: 1827.

    ... tow'rds ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 821: 1832.

    ... will ever be allowed,                                    1814.

[Footnote 822: 1850.

    ... is it ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 823: 1827.

    ... which ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 824: 1845.

    ... upon ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 825: 1827.

    ... itself, ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 826: 1827.

    ... touches ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 827: 1827.

    What more than this, that we thereby should gain             1814.

[Footnote 828: 1832.

    They sweep away infection from the heart;
    And, by the substitution of delight,
    Suppress all evil; ...                                       1814.

    They sweep distemper from the busy day,
    And make the Vessel of the big round Year
    Run o'er with gladness; ...                                  1827.

[Footnote 829: 1827.

    ... power                                                    1814.

[Footnote 830: 1827.

    ... before your sight
    A most familiar object of our days,
    A Little-one, ...                                            1814.

[Footnote 831: 1827.

    ... my ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 832:

    Through which she ...                                          MS.

[Footnote 833: 1827.

    ... Sheep ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 834: 1827.

    Which Women who have Children of their own
    Regard without compassion, yea with praise!
    I spake of mischief which the wise diffuse                   1814.

[Footnote 835: 1827.

    Within the reach ...                                         1814.

[Footnote 836: 1845.

                          ... and death to be
    Foretasted, immortality presumed.                            1814.

[Footnote 837: 1814.

    Bountiful ...                                                   C.

[Footnote 838: 1836.

                       ... no special boon
    For high and not for low, for proudly graced
    And ...                                                      1814.

[Footnote 839: 1836.

    ... haughty ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 840: 1836.

    ... betwixt ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 841: 1836.

    But let us rather fix our gladdened thoughts                 1814.

    "But let us rather turn our gladdened thoughts               1827.

[Footnote 842: 1836.

    ... this is sure, ...                                        1814.

[Footnote 843: 1827.

    ... and to inform                                            1814.

[Footnote 844: 1836.

    To drudge through weary life without the aid                 1814.

[Footnote 845: 1827.

    This right, as sacred almost as the right
    To exist and be supplied with sustenance
    And means of life, the lisping Babe proclaims                1814.

[Footnote 846: 1827.

    ... sacred ...                                               1814.

[Footnote 847: 1814.

    That ...                                                     1836.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1814.]

[Footnote 848: 1827.

    ... acts                                                     1814.

[Footnote 849: 1827.

    To breed commotion and disquietude,
    Each might preserve ...                                      1814.

[Footnote 850: 1836.

    Amongst ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 851: 1827.

                        ... do alike require
    That permanent provision should be made
    For the whole people to be taught and trained.               1814.

[Footnote 852:

                          ... descend
    Upon the humblest member of the State
    Like ...                                                        C.

[Footnote 853: 1845.

    With civil arts, and send their fragrance forth,             1814.

                ... that send ...                                1827.

[Footnote 854: 1827.

    From Culture, universally bestowed
    On Britain's noble Race in freedom born;
    From Education, from that humble source,                     1814.

[Footnote 855: 1827.

    ... quiet ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 856: 1836.

    The Lake though bright, is of a placid blue;                 1814.

[Footnote 857: 1845.

    Beneath her ...                                              1814.

[Footnote 858: 1827.

    And down the Valley on the Streamlet's bank                  1814.

[Footnote 859: 1832.

    ... I sometimes feel, ...                                    1814.

[Footnote 860: 1845.

                   ... so serene and bright;
    Like those reflected in yon quiet Pool,
    Cannot be lasting in a world like ours,
    To great and small disturbances exposed."                    1814.

                  ... so serene and bright;
    Like those reflected in yon quiet pool,
    Cannot be lasting in a world whose pleasure
    (And whose best beauty, beautiful as it is)
    Seems but a fleeting sun-beam's gift, whose peace
    The sufferance only of a breath of air!"                     1836.

                        ... so serene and bright
    Cannot be lasting in a world like ours,
    One whose best beauty, beautiful as it is,
    Like that reflected in yon quiet pool
    Seems but a fleeting sun-beam's gift, whose peace
    The sufferance only of a breath of air!"                     1840.

[Footnote 861: 1836.

    --When we had cautiously embarked, the Pair
    Now for a prouder service were addrest;
    But an inexorable law forbade,
    And each resigned the oar which he had seized.
    Whereat, with willing hand I undertook
    The needful labour; grateful task!--to me                    1814.

[Footnote 862: 1836.

                       ... Now the reedy marge
    Cleared, with a strenuous arm I dipped the oar,              1814.

[Footnote 863: 1836.

    ... bend ...                                                 1814.

[Footnote 864:

    ... darksome ...                                                C.

[Footnote 865:

    ... by youthful Pages served                                    C.

[Footnote 866: 1836.

                                  ... partook
    The beverage drawn from China's fragrant herb.               1814.

[Footnote 867: 1836.

    ... roused ...                                               1814.

[Footnote 868: 1827.

    ... there, ...                                               1814.

[Footnote 869: 1836.

                            ... beach
    It seems extinct; nor shall ...                              1814.

[Footnote 870: 1836.

    Thus did the Bark, meandering with the shore,
    Pursue her voyage, till a point was gained
    Where a projecting line of rock, that framed
    A natural pier, invited us to land.                          1814.

    Thus did the Bark, meandering with the shore,
    Pursue her voyage, till a natural pier
    Of jutting rock invited us to land.                          1827.

[Footnote 871: 1827.

                  ... and thence obtained,
    Slowly, a less and less obstructed sight                     1814.

[Footnote 872: 1836.

    Of ...                                                       1814.

[Footnote 873: 1827.

    Of the whole lake-- ...                                      1814.

[Footnote 874: 1827.

                    ... presiding o'er the Vale
    And all her Dwellings; seemingly preserved                   1814.

[Footnote 875: 1845.

    From the intrusion of a restless world                       1814.

[Footnote 876: 1827.

    With resting-place of mossy stone;--and there
    We sate reclined--admiring quietly
    The frame and general aspect of the scene;
    And each not seldom eager to make known                      1814.

[Footnote 877: 1836.

    ... ne'er ...                                                1814.

[Footnote 878: 1836.

    Pierced through their thin etherial mould, ere we,
    Who saw, of change were conscious, had become                1814.

    Ere we, who saw, of change were conscious, pierced
    Through their ethereal texture, had become                   1827.

[Footnote 879: 1827.

    ... Image of Thyself.                                        1814.

[Footnote 880: 1836.

    Whom morning wakes, among sweet dews and flowers             1814.

[Footnote 881:

    ... henceforward raised ...                                     C.

[Footnote 882: 1827.

                     ... and unceasing joy.
    Once, while the Name ...                                     1814.

[Footnote 883: 1827.

    ... their heads                                              1814.

[Footnote 884: 1827.

    Of those dread Idols, some, perchance, received              1814.

[Footnote 885: 1827.

    ... spacious ...                                             1814.

[Footnote 886: 1836.

    At this affecting hour, might almost think                   1814.

[Footnote 887: 1827

    On your Abodes, and this beloved Land,
    Our birth-place, home, and Country, while on Earth
    We sojourn,--loudly do I utter thanks
    With earnest joy, that will not be suppressed.               1814.

[Footnote 888: 1827.

    ... or ...                                                   1814.

[Footnote 889: 1836.

    Beneath ...                                                  1814.

[Footnote 890: 1845.

                    ... in the lonely dell,
    His chosen residence. But, ere he turned
    Aside, a welcome promise had been given,                     1814.

    But turned not without welcome promise given,                1827.

[Footnote 891: 1845.

    Of yet another summer's day, consumed
    In wandering with us through the Vallies fair,               1814.

                            ... given up
    To wandering ...                                                C.

[Footnote 892: 1814.

    ... is yours ...                                             1827.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1814.]


[Footnote KJ: "On the side of Loughrigg Fell, at the foot of the lake,
and looking down upon it and the whole Vale and its encompassing
mountains, the Pastor is supposed by me to stand, when at sunset he
addresses his companions."--I. F.]

[Footnote KK: Compare _Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey_
(vol. ii. p. 55, l. 100)--

    A motion and a spirit, that impels
    All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
    And rolls through all things.                                  ED.

[Footnote KL: The vale of Langdale rather than that of Grasmere. It was
the cottage at Hackett that was, by "the magician's wand," converted into
the "Parsonage." Possibly, however, the allusion may be to Fairfield, or
Stone Arthur.--ED.]

[Footnote KM: The Rothay.--ED.]

[Footnote KN: A phrase now familiarized to English ears by Mr. Arnold's
use of it.--ED.]

[Footnote KO: See Wordsworth's note, p. 390. Compulsory Elementary
Education was secured to Scotland by the Education Act of 1872, and to
England by the Act of 1880.--ED.]

[Footnote KP: A promontory in Valencia, facing the Balearic Isles.--ED.]

[Footnote KQ: The reference is to Napoleon Buonaparte, and his designs of
conquest, "oppression," and "destruction."--ED.]

[Footnote KR: See note, p. 371.--ED.]

[Footnote KS: Compare _Yarrow Unvisited_, ll. 43, 44 (vol. ii. p. 412)--

    The swan on still St. Mary's Lake
    Float double, swan and shadow.                                 ED.

[Footnote KT: Compare _The Prelude_, book ii. ll. 54-57 (vol. iii. p.

                      When summer came,
    Our pastime was, on bright half-holidays,
    To sweep along the plain of Windermere
    With rival oars.                                               ED.

[Footnote KU: Dr. Cradock, the Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford,
wrote to me in 1878: "The Lake is of course, in the main, that of
Grasmere, 'the grassy mountain's open side' being avowedly Loughrigg
Terrace. But, according to Wordsworth's habit, he has drawn his imagery
from various other places--as the island of Grasmere is not 'with
birch-trees fringed.' (This may well refer to Rydal.) Again, I know of
no 'lilies of the vale' at Grasmere, but they are found, I believe, on
one of the islands of Windermere, certainly in woods near the river
Leven, below that lake. Again, the vicar refers to 'two islands' on the
lake, but Grasmere has only one. I never saw a goat 'browsing by dashing
waterfalls,' still less 'spotted deer' on or near Grasmere."

It seems to me that the description refers, first to Rydal lake, and then
to Grasmere. The company descend, as will be seen, along a streamlet to a
bridge, where they see a ram reflected in the water. They then go into a
boat, and sail to the 'rocky isle with birch-trees fringed.' This cannot
refer to the island in Grasmere, but it _may_ refer to the larger one in
Rydal. Even the 'dashing waterfall' may be the small one in the beck that
descends between Nab Scar and White Moss Common. But if this be correct,
and if the whole party are supposed to ascend Loughrigg Terrace later on,
proceeding to a point whence they can view the vale of Grasmere, there
are still some difficulties in localising the details.--ED.]

[Footnote KV: Probably the terrace walks on Loughrigg are here referred

[Footnote KW: Compare _The Prelude_, book ii. ll. 59-61 (vol. iii. p.

                         ... a Sister Isle
    Beneath the oaks' umbrageous covert, sown
    With lilies of the valley like a field.                        ED.

[Footnote KX: See note, p. 371.--ED.]

[Footnote KY: See note, p. 371.--ED.]

[Footnote KZ: Loughrigg.--ED.]

[Footnote LA: Of Grasmere.--ED.]

[Footnote LB: Loughrigg Fell. See the Fenwick note, p. 15, and p. 374
line 6.--ED.]

[Footnote LC: The reference may be to the crater-like recess or "cove,"
on Helm Crag, or to the more distant recesses of Easdale.--ED.]

[Footnote LD: A name of Jupiter among the Druids in Gaul. Toland, in his
_History of the Druids_ (p. 247), gives a list of the _Dii Gallorum_,
beginning with _Taramis_ and ending with _Adraste_ or _Andate_. And,
in an edition of Toland's _History_, edited with elaborate notes by R.
Huddleston, schoolmaster, Lunan, and published at Montrose in 1814,
I find the following, p. 357:--"Taramis, or _Taranis_, is the Gaelic
_Taran_, or _Tharan_, _i.e._ 'thunder.' This god is the same with
the Grecian _Zeus_, or the Roman _Jupiter_. By this deity the Celts
understood _Baal_. _Taranis_, or _Tharanis_, is sometimes written
_Tanaris_, or _Thanaris_, which bears a great affinity to the English
_thunder_, the German _Donder_, and the Roman _Tonitru_. Lucan mentions
him (lib. i.) in these words--

    Et Taranis Scythicæ non mitior ara Dianæ.

From the Celts the Germans borrowed _Tharanis_, and by abbreviation
formed their God _Thor_, whence _Thursday_, the same as the Roman _Dies
Iovis_." Compare Southey's _Book of the Church_, vol. i. p. 5.--ED.]

[Footnote LE: The same editor of Toland's book on the Druids, whose
comment on Taranis is given in the previous note, writes thus of
Adraste, or Andate, p. 359:--"Respecting this goddess there has been
some difference of opinion. The Greeks seem to have considered her as
_Nemesis_, or the goddess of revenge.... There can be little doubt that
the goddess here meant is the Phœnician _Ashtaroth_, or _Astarte_, _i.e._
'the moon.'" See Dio Cassius, i. 64.--ED.]

[Footnote LF: Grasmere Church.--ED.]

[Footnote LG: Compare _Paradise Lost_, book v. 1. 202--

    Witness if I be silent, morn or even.                          ED.

[Footnote LH: At Blea Tarn.--ED.]

[Footnote LI: See the Fenwick note, p. 15.--ED.]


The following are the notes which Wordsworth added to _The Excursion_ in
the edition of 1814. In the case of the second, it will be observed that
a new note was substituted in 1827 for that of 1814 and 1820. In other
respects these "notes" remained unaltered throughout the editions, from
1814 to 1850. I have not thought it necessary to indicate the few, and
very slight, changes in the phraseology of separate sentences. The text
of the passages, on which the notes are based, is taken from the edition
of 1850.--ED.

Preface, page 25.

        _Descend, prophetic Spirit! that inspir'st_
        _The human Soul_, etc.

    Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic Soul
    Of the wide world dreaming on things to come.
                                 _Shakspeare's Sonnets._--W.W. (1814).

Page 43.

    ----_much did he see of men._

In Heron's Tour in Scotland is given an intelligent account of the
qualities by which this class of men used to be, and still are in some
degree, distinguished, and of the benefits which society derives from
their labours. Among their characteristics, he does not omit to mention
that, from being obliged to pass so much of their time in solitary
wandering among rural objects, they frequently acquire meditative habits
of mind, and are strongly disposed to enthusiasm poetical and religious.
I regret that I have not the book at hand to quote the passage, as it is
interesting on many accounts. (1814.)

At the risk of giving a shock to the prejudices of artificial society, I
have ever been ready to pay homage to the aristocracy of nature; under a
conviction that vigorous human-heartedness is the constituent principle
of true taste. It may still, however, be satisfactory to have prose
testimony how far a Character, employed for purposes of imagination,
is founded upon general fact. I, therefore, subjoin an extract from an
author who had opportunities of being well acquainted with a class of
men, from whom my own personal knowledge emboldened me to draw this

"We learn from Cæsar and other Roman Writers, that the travelling
merchants who frequented Gaul and other barbarous countries, either
newly conquered by the Roman arms, or bordering on the Roman conquests,
were ever the first to make the inhabitants of those countries
familiarly acquainted with the Roman modes of life, and to inspire them
with an inclination to follow the Roman fashions, and to enjoy Roman
conveniences. In North America, travelling merchants from the Settlements
have done and continue to do much more towards civilising the Indian
natives, than all the missionaries, papist or protestant, who have ever
been sent among them.

"It is farther to be observed, for the credit of this most useful class
of men, that they commonly contribute, by their personal manners, no less
than by the sale of their wares, to the refinement of the people among
whom they travel. Their dealings form them to great quickness of wit and
acuteness of judgment. Having constant occasion to recommend themselves
and their goods, they acquire habits of the most obliging attention,
and the most insinuating address. As in their peregrinations they have
opportunity of contemplating the manners of various men and various
cities, they become eminently skilled in the knowledge of the world.
_As they wander, each alone, through thinly-inhabited districts, they
form habits of reflection and of sublime contemplation._ With all these
qualifications, no wonder, that they should often be, in remote parts of
the country, the best mirrors of fashion, and censors of manners; and
should contribute much to polish the roughness, and soften the rusticity
of our peasantry. It is not more than twenty or thirty years since a
young man going from any part of Scotland to England, of purpose to
_carry the pack_, was considered as going to lead the life and acquire
the fortune of a gentleman. When, after twenty years' absence, in that
honourable line of employment, he returned with his acquisitions to
his native country, he was regarded as a gentleman to all intents and
purposes."--Heron's _Journey in Scotland_, vol. i. p. 89.--W.W. (1827).

Page 110.

    _Lost in unsearchable eternity!_

Since this paragraph was composed, I have read with so much pleasure,
in Burnet's Theory of the Earth, a passage expressing corresponding
sentiments, excited by objects of a similar nature, that I cannot forbear
to transcribe it.

"Siquod verò Natura nobis dedit spectaculum, in hâc tellure, verè
gratum, et philosopho dignum, id semel mihi contigisse arbitror; cùm ex
celsissimâ rupe speculabundus ad oram maris Mediterranei, hinc æquor
cæruleum, illinc tractus Alpinos prospexi; nihil quidem magìs dispar
aut dissimile, nec in suo genere, magìs egregium et singulare. Hoc
theatrum ego facile prætulerim Romanis cunctis, Græcisve, atque id quod
natura hîc spectandum exhibet, scenicis ludis omnibus, aut amphitheatri
certaminibus. Nihil hîc elegans aut venustum, sed ingens et magnificum,
et quod placet magnitudine suâ et quâdam specie immensitatis. Hinc
intuebar maris æquabilem superficiem, usque et usque diffusam, quantum
maximùm oculorum acies ferri potuit; illinc disruptissimam terræ faciem,
et vastas moles variè elevatas aut depressas, erectas, propendentes,
reclinatas, coacervatas, omni situ inæquali et turbido: Placuit ex hâc
parte Naturæ unitas et simplicitas, et inexhausta quædam planities; ex
alterâ, multiformis confusio magnorum corporum, et insanæ rerum strages:
quas cùm intuebar, non urbis alicujus aut oppidi, sed confracti mundi
rudera, ante oculos habere mihi visus sum.

"In singulis ferè montibus erat aliquid insolens et mirabile, sed
præ cæteris mihi placebat ilia, quâ sedebam, rupes; erat maxima et
altissima, et quâ terram respiciebat, molliori ascensu altitudinem suam
dissimulabat: quà verò mare, horrendúm præceps, et quasi ad perpendiculum
facta instar parietis. Prætereà facies ilia marina adeò erat lævis ac
uniformis (quod in rupibus aliquando observare licet) ac si scissa
fuisset à summo ad imum, in illo plano, vel terræ motu aliquo, aut
fulmine divulsa.

"Ima pars rupis erat cava, recessusque habuit, et saxeos specus, euntes
in vacuum montem; sive naturâ pridem factos, sive exesos mari, et undarum
crebris ictibus: In hos enim cum impetu ruebant, et fragore æstuantis
maris fluctus, quos iterum spumantes reddidit antrum, et quasi ab imo
ventre evomuit.

"Dextrum latus mentis erat præruptum, aspero saxo et nudâ caute;
sinistrum non adeò neglexerat Natura, arboribus utpote ornatum: et
prope pedem montis rivus limpidæ aquæ prorupit, qui cùm vicinam vallem
irrigaverat, lento motu serpens, et per varios mæandros, quasi ad
protrahendam vitam, in magno mari absorptus subito periit. Denique
in summo vertice promontorii, commodè eminebat saxum, cui insidebam
contemplabundus. Vale augusta sedes, Rege digna: Augusta rupes,
semper mihi memoranda!" P. 89. _Telluris Theoria sacra, etc. Editio
secunda._--W. W. 1814).

Page 139.

    _Of Mississippi, or that northern stream._

"A man is supposed to improve by going out into the _World_, by visiting
_London_. Artificial man does; he extends with his sphere; but, alas!
that sphere is microscopic; it is formed of minutiæ, and he surrenders
his genuine vision to the artist, in order to embrace it in his ken. His
bodily senses grow acute, even to barren and inhuman pruriency; while
his mental become proportionally obtuse. The reverse is the Man of Mind:
he who is placed in the sphere of Nature and of God, might be a mock at
Tattersall's and Brooks's, and a sneer at St. James's: he would certainly
be swallowed alive by the first _Pizarro_ that crossed him:--But when he
walks along the river of Amazons; when he rests his eye on the unrivalled
Andes; when he measures the long and watered savannah; or contemplates,
from a sudden promontory, the distant, vast Pacific--and feels himself a
freeman in this vast theatre, and commanding each ready produced fruit of
this wilderness, and each progeny of this stream--his exaltation is not
less than imperial. He is as gentle, too, as he is great: his emotions of
tenderness keep pace with his elevation of sentiment; for he says, 'These
were made by a good Being, who, unsought by me, placed me here to enjoy
them.' He becomes at once a child and a king. His mind is in himself;
from hence he argues, and from hence he acts, and he argues unerringly,
and acts magisterially; his mind in himself is also in his God; and
therefore he loves, and therefore he soars."--From the notes upon _The
Hurricane_, a Poem, _by William Gilbert_.[LJ]

The Reader, I am sure, will thank me for the above quotation, which,
though from a strange book, is one of the finest passages of modern
English prose.--W.W. (1814).

Page 149.

    _'Tis, by comparison, an easy task_
    _Earth to despise_, etc.

See, upon this subject, Baxter's most interesting review of his own
opinions and sentiments in the decline of life. It may be found (lately
reprinted) in Dr. Wordsworth's _Ecclesiastical Biography_.--W.W. (1814).

Page 152.

    _Alas! the endowment of immortal Power,_
    _Is matched unequally with custom, time_, etc.

This subject is treated at length in the _Ode, Intimations of
Immortality_.--W.W. (1814).

Page 156.

    _Knowing the heart of man is set to be_, etc.

The passage quoted from Daniel is taken from a poem addressed to the
Lady Margaret, Countess of Cumberland, and the two last lines, printed
in Italics, are by him translated from Seneca. The whole Poem is very
beautiful. I will transcribe four stanzas from it, as they contain an
admirable picture of the state of a wise Man's mind in a time of public

    Nor is he moved with all the thunder-cracks
    Of tyrant's threats, or with the surly brow
    Of Power, that proudly sits on others' crimes;
    Charged with more crying sins than those he checks.
    The storms of sad confusion that may grow
    Up in the present for the coming times,
    Appal not him; that hath no side at all,
    But of himself, and knows the worst can fall.

    Although his heart (so near allied to earth)
    Cannot but pity the perplexed state
    Of troublous and distressed mortality,
    That thus make way unto the ugly birth
    Of their own sorrows, and do still beget
    Affliction upon Imbecility;
    Yet seeing thus the course of things must run,
    He looks thereon not strange, but as fore-done.

    And whilst distraught ambition compasses,
    And is encompassed, while as craft deceives,
    And is deceived: whilst man doth ransack man,
    And builds on blood, and rises by distress;
    And th' Inheritance of desolation leaves
    To great-expecting hopes: He looks thereon,
    As from the shore of peace, with unwet eye,
    And bears no venture in Impiety.

    Thus, Lady, fares that man that hath prepared
    A rest for his desires; and sees all things
    Beneath him; and hath learned this book of man,
    Full of the notes of frailty; and compared
    The best of glory with her sufferings:
    By whom, I see, you labour all you can
    To plant your heart! and set your thoughts as near
    His glorious mansion as your powers can bear.              (1814.)

Page 221.

    _Or rather, as we stand on holy earth.
    And have the dead around us._

    _Leo._    You, Sir, could help me to the history
              Of half these graves?

    _Priest._ For eight-score winters past,
              With what I've witnessed, and with what I've heard,
              Perhaps I might; ...
              By turning o'er these hillocks one by one,
              We two could travel, Sir, through a strange round;
              Yet all in the broad highway of the world.

See the Author's poem of _The Brothers_, published in the "Lyrical
Ballads," in the year 1800.--W.W. (1814).

Page 233.

    _And suffering Nature grieved that one should die._

    _Southey's Retrospect_.--W.W. (1814).

Page 233.

    _And whence that tribute? wherefore these regards?_

The sentiments and opinions here uttered are in unison with those
expressed in the ... Essay upon Epitaphs, which was furnished by me for
Mr. Coleridge's periodical work, _The Friend_; and as they are dictated
by a spirit congenial to that which pervades this and the two succeeding
books, the sympathising reader will not be displeased to see the Essay
here annexed.[LK]--W.W. (1814).

Page 236.

    _And spires whose 'silent finger points to heaven.'_

An instinctive taste teaches men to build their churches in flat
countries with spire-steeples, which as they cannot be referred to any
other object, point as with silent finger to the sky and stars, and
sometimes, when they reflect the brazen light of a rich though rainy
sunset, appear like a pyramid of flame burning heaven-ward. See _The
Friend_, by S. T. Coleridge, No. 14, p. 223.--W. W. (1814).

Page 308.

    _That sycamore, which annually holds_
    _Within its shade, as in a stately tent._

    This Sycamore oft musical with Bees;
    _Such Tents_ the Patriarchs loved.

    _S. T. Coleridge_.--W.W.                                   (1814).

(It is in his _Inscription for a fountain on a Heath_.--ED.)

Page 323.

    _Perish the roses and the flowers of kings._

The "Transit gloria mundi" is finely expressed in the Introduction to
the Foundation-charters of some of the ancient Abbeys. Some expressions
here used are taken from that of the Abbey of St. Mary's, Furness, the
translation of which is as follows:--

"Considering every day the uncertainty of life, that the roses and
flowers of Kings, Emperors, and Dukes, and the crowns and palms of all
the great, wither and decay; and that all things, with an uninterrupted
course, tend to dissolution and death: I therefore," etc.--W.W. (1814).

Page 331.

        ----_Earth has lent_
    _Her waters, Air her breezes._

In treating this subject, it was impossible not to recollect, with
gratitude, the pleasing picture, which, in his Poem of _The Fleece_, the
excellent and amiable Dyer has given of the influences of manufacturing
industry upon the face of this Island. He wrote at a time when machinery
was first beginning to be introduced, and his benevolent heart prompted
him to augur from it nothing but good. Truth has compelled me to dwell
upon the baneful effects arising out of an ill-regulated and excessive
application of powers so admirable in themselves.--W. W. (1814).

Page 363.

    _Binding herself by statute._

The discovery of Dr. Bell affords marvellous facilities for carrying this
into effect; and it is impossible to over-rate the benefit which might
accrue to humanity from the universal application of this simple engine
under an enlightened and conscientious government.--W. W. (1814).


[Footnote LJ: _The Hurricane, a Theosophical and Western Eclogue, etc._,
by William Gilbert, London, 1797. Compare Wordsworth's notes to _The

[Footnote LK: In this edition, it finds a more appropriate place in the
_Prose Works_.--ED.]



(See p. 2)

The grave of James Patrick,--the pedlar whose character and habits
gave rise to "The Wanderer" of _The Excursion_,--may still be seen in
the church-yard within the town of Kendal. The following extract from
the _Papers, Letters, and Journals of William Pearson_, edited by his
widow, and printed in London, in 1863, for private circulation, refers
to Patrick. "He" (_i.e._ William Pearson) "sometimes went to Kendal on
Sundays, in order to worship with Unitarians, in the old Presbyterian
_meeting-house_. This quiet secluded building, though situated in the
heart of the town, is overshadowed by trees, beneath which rest many
worthies of departed times: one of whom, James Patrick, was the prototype
of 'The Wanderer' of _The Excursion_. A plain mural slab, outside
the east wall of the chapel--which was his spiritual home--bears the
following inscription:--

    WHO DIED MAY 10TH, 1753, AGED 51 YEARS;

"When staying in Kendal, with his friend Mr. Thomas Cookson, Mr.
Wordsworth himself was an occasional worshipper, along with the family,
at this chapel; and thus became acquainted with the minister, the
Reverend John Harrison, and with one of his congregation, the well-known
blind mathematician and botanist, Mr. John Gough, with the delineation
of whose remarkable powers and character the poet has enriched his
_Excursion_; and in turn, has, by the touch of his genius, imparted
to them a lustre that will not fade, whilst English Literature shall
endure." (p. 13).


(See p. 115)

The following is an extract from Dr. Daniel G. Brinton's work, the _Myths
of the New World_.

    "As in oriental legends, the origin of man from the earth was
    veiled under the story that he was the progeny of some mountain
    by the embrace of Mithras or Jupiter, so the Indians often
    pointed to some height or some cavern as the spot whence the
    first of men issued, adult and armed, from the womb of the
    All-mother Earth. The oldest name of the Alleghany Mountains is
    Paemotinck, or Pemolnick, an Algonkin word, the meaning of which
    is said to be "The origin of the Indians."

    "The Witchitas, who dwelt on the Red River among the mountains
    named after them, have a tradition that their progenitors issued
    from the rocks about their homes, and many other tribes, the
    Tahkalis, Navajos, Coryoteras, and the Hailians, for instance,
    set up this claim to be autochthones....

    "All those tribes, the Creeks, Seminoles, Choctaws, Chicasaws,
    and Natchez, who, according to tradition, were in remote times
    banded into one common confederacy under the headship of the
    last-mentioned, unanimously located their earliest ancestry near
    an artificial eminence in the valley of the Big Black River, in
    the Natchez country, whence they pretended to have emerged....

    "A parallel to this southern legend occurs among the Six Nations
    of the north. They with one consent, if we may credit the account
    of Cusic, looked to a mountain near the falls of the Oswego
    River, in the State of New York, as the locality where the
    forefathers first saw the light of day, and that they had some
    such legend the name Oneida, people of the Stone, would seem to

    "An ancient legend of the Aztecs derived their nation from a
    place called Chicomoztoc, the Seven Caverns, located north of
    Mexico. Antiquaries have indulged in all sorts of speculations
    as to what this means.... Caverns and hollow trees were in fact
    the homes and temples of our first parents, and from them they
    went forth to conquer and adorn the world; and from the inorganic
    constituents of the soil acted on by Light, treated by Divine
    Force, vivified by the Spirit, did in reality the first of men

    "This cavern, which thus dimly lingered in the memories of
    nations, occasionally expanded to a nether world, imagined to
    underlie this of ours, and still inhabited by beings of our
    kind, who have never been lucky enough to discover its exit. The
    Mandans and Minnetarees, on the Missouri River, supposed this
    exit was near a certain hill in their territory...."--_Myths of
    the New World_, pp. 224-8.

Mr. Edward B. Tylor, Oxford, suggests that the legend referred to may be
that described in Falkner's account of the Moluches.

"They believe that their good deities made the world, and that they
first created the Indians in their caves, gave them the lance, the bow
and arrows, and the stone-bowls, to fight and hunt with, and then turned
them out to shift for themselves. They imagine that the deities of the
Spaniards did the same by them.... They have formed a belief that some
of them after death return to their divine caverns," etc. (Falkner's
_Description of Patagonia and the adjoining parts of South America,
etc._, chap. v. pp. 114-5, by Thomas Falkner, Hereford, 1774.)

See also Edward B. Tylor's _Early History of Mankind_, p. 313.--ED.


(See p. 140)

For the following letters in reference to the "Muccawiss," I am
indebted to Mr. Henry Reed,--son of the late Professor Reed of
Philadelphia,--whose assistance in all matters relating to Wordsworth in
America has been invaluable.

    "_September 26th, 1883_.

"MY DEAR MR. KNIGHT--Dr. Brinton tells me that Muccawiss is the
Algonquin for whip-poor-will, and he will ascertain for me the precise
spelling, and, if possible, the book from which W. W. probably got his
information.--Yours sincerely,


    "_September 27th, 1883_.

"DEAR SIR--I have failed to find the exact word used by
Wordsworth--muccawiss. The nearest to it is 'moshkaois,' which signifies
'bittern,' a water-fowl of the diver class, to which the name has
reference, it being a derivative from a verb meaning to rise to the
surface of the water. The word is no doubt of Algonkin origin, and I
would suggest that you write to the Algonkin scholar, _par excellence_,
of our country, Colonel J. Hammond Trumbull, Hartford, Conn., who is both
able and willing to solve all the enigmas of that difficult tongue.--Very
truly yours,

    D. G. BRINTON."

    "Henry Reed, Esq."

    "_October 2nd, 1883_.

"MY DEAR MR. KNIGHT--I enclose a letter from Colonel Trumbull, which I
think you will find satisfactory.--Yours very sincerely,


    "HARTFORD, CONN., _September 29th, 1883_.

    "HENRY REED, Esq., Philadelphia.

"DEAR SIR--Wordsworth's 'Muccawis' was, certainly, a Whip-poor-will, and
he must have taken the Indian name, directly or at second-hand, from
Carver's _Travels_. Among the birds 'found in the interior parts of
North America,' Carver (chap. 18) describes 'the Whipper-will, or, as
it is termed by the Indians, the _Muckawis_.... As soon as night comes
on, these birds will place themselves on the fences, stumps, or stones
that lie near some house, and _repeat their melancholy notes without any
variation_ till midnight,' etc. So Wordsworth's

                  Melancholy muccawis
    Repeated, o'er and o'er, his plaintive cry.

"I have an impression--which I have not just now leisure to verify--that
Carver's description of this and some other American birds was reprinted
in the _Gentleman's Magazine_. Two or three English editions of the
_Travels_ had been printed before _The Excursion_ was written.

"I find no other authority for this 'Indian' name. The Chippeway name for
the Whip-poor-will is (as given by Tanner or Dr. E. James) _Wâwonaissa_.
Nuttall states, the Delaware name was _Wecoâlis_: Zeisberger wrote it
_Wecoolis_.--Yours sincerely,


"_P.S._--Carver did not name 'the merry mocking-bird'--which Wordsworth
makes the companion of the 'Muccawis'; but Campbell had heard of 'the
_merry mock-bird's_ song,' and copied a description of it from Ashe's
_Travels in America_, in a note to _Gertrude of Wyoming_ (1809), pt. i.
st. 3."

Since receiving these letters I have ascertained that Wordsworth had in
his library at Rydal Mount--whether he had it at Allan Bank I cannot
say--a copy of one of the English editions of Carver's _Travels_.

Compare _Wanderings in South America, etc._, by Charles Waterton--a work
which was also in Wordsworth's library at Rydal. I quote from a recent
edition (1879). See pp. 99, 111, 199, and 488:--

"When in thy hammock, should the thought of thy little crosses and
disappointments, in thy ups and downs through life, break in upon thee,
and throw thee into a pensive mood, the owl will bear thee company.
She will tell thee that hard has been her fate too; and at intervals
'Whip-poor-will' and 'Willy-come-go' will take up the tale of sorrow.
Ovid has told thee how the owl once boasted the human form, and lost it
for a very small offence; and were the poet alive now, he would inform
thee, that 'Whip-poor-will' and 'Willy-come-go' are the shades of these
poor African and Indian slaves, who died worn out and broken-hearted.
They wail and cry, 'Whip-poor-will' and 'Willy-come-go' all night long;
and often, when the moon shines, you see them sitting on the green turf,
near the houses of those whose ancestors tore them from the bosom of
their helpless families, which all probably perished through grief and
want, after their support was gone." (p. 99).

"The Caprimulgus wheels in busy flight around the canoe, while
'Whip-poor-will' sits on the broken stump near the water's edge,
complaining as the shades of night set in" (p. 111).

The following is from _Ornithological Biography, or an Account of the
Habits of the Birds of America_, vol. i. p. 422, by John James Audubon,
Edinburgh, 1831.

"Whip-poor-will, _Caprimulgus vociferus_, a species of Night-jar.
Immediately after the arrival of these birds their notes are heard in
the dusk and through the evening, in every part of the thickets, and
along the skirts of the woods. They are clear and loud, and to me are
more interesting than those of the Nightingale.... The Whip-poor-will
continues its lively song for several hours after sunset, and then
remains silent until the first dawn of day, when its notes echo through
every vale, and along the declivities of the mountains, until the beams
of the rising sun scatter the darkness that overhung the face of Nature.
Hundreds are often heard at the same time in different parts of the wood,
each trying to outdo the others.... The cry consists of three distinct
notes, the first and last of which are emphatical and sonorous, the
intermediate one less so. These three notes are preceded by a low cluck,
which seems preparatory to the others. A fancied resemblance which its
notes have to the syllables _whip-poor-will_ has given rise to the common
name of the bird."


(See p. 173)

A translation of the passage from Pausanias is quoted in the text. I
append extracts from some letters I have received on the subject. The
first are from Mr. Heard, Fettes College, Edinburgh.

    _October 5th._

"I cannot find a reference to Cephisus; but I send you a passage in
point from Homer, _Iliad_, 23, 140. I rather suspect Wordsworth had this
passage in mind, for no commentator I have quotes a parallel; in which
case he has either forgotten _Spercheius_ as the river, or substituted,
on purpose, the better known Attic river.

"Achilles offers to the dead Patroclus the locks which his father had
vowed to Spercheius, if ever he returned to his native land:

    ἔνθ᾿ αὖτ ἄλλ᾿ ἐνόησε ποδάρκης δῖος Αχιλλεύς
    στὰς ἀπάνευθε πυρῆς ξανθὴν ἀπεκείρατο χαίτην
    τήν ῥα Σπερχειῷ ποταμῷ τρέφε τηλεθόωσαν
    ὀχθήσας δ᾿ ἄρα εἶπεν ιδὼν ἐπὶ οἴνοπα πόντον
        Σπερχεί᾿, ἄλλως σοίγε πατὴρ ἠρήατο Πηλεὺς
    κεῖσέ με νοστήσαντα ϕίλην ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν
    σοί τε κόμην κερέειν.

    _October 13th._

"I have discovered the reference to the Cephisus. It is from Pausanias,
1, 37, 3. I transcribe the passage: you will notice the reference to the
Spercheius of the _Iliad_.

"πρὶν δὲ διαβαεναι τὸν Καεφισόν, Θεοδώρου μνῆμά ἐστι τραγῳσίαν
ὑποκριναμένου τῶν καθ᾿ αὑτὸν ἄριστα. ἀγάλματα δὲ ἐπὶ τῷ ποταμῷ
Μνησιμάχης, τὸ δὲ ἐτερον ἀνάθημα κειρομένου οἰ τὴν κόμην τοῦ παιδὸς
ἐπὶ τῷ Καϕισῷ. καθεστάναι δὲ ἐκ παλαιοῦ καὶ τοῖς πᾶσι τοῦτο ῞Ἑλλαεσι
τῇ Ὁμήρου τις ἂν τεκμαίροιτο ποιήσει, ἃς τὸν Παελέα εὄξασθαί ϕησι τῷ
Σπερχειῷ κερεῖν ἀνασωθέντος ἐκ Τροίας Αχιλλέως τὴν κόμην.

"There can be little doubt that Wordsworth had this passage in mind. The
Cephisus is the Attic one; this is a statue, which Pausanias saw on the
banks of the river, of the son of Mnesimache cutting his locks over the

Professor Campbell writes:--"The Homeric passage is _Iliad_, 23, 140-151,
where Achilles cuts off for Patroclus the lock of hair, which _his father
Peleus_ had vowed to the river Spercheius in case of his son's safe
return. This is referred to by Plato,--_Rep._ 3, 391 B,--who regards it
as an act of impiety to have given that, which was sacred to the river,
to a dead body.

"Unless the passage in Pausanias is singularly apposite, I should think
that this passage must have been in Wordsworth's mind, and that by a
perfectly legitimate use of poetic freedom, in speaking of the later
Greek civilisation, he had put the Attic in place of the Phthiotic river."

Since receiving Mr. Heard's letter, I have found that Wordsworth
possessed a copy of Thomas Taylor's translation of Pausanias's
_Description of Greece_, published in 1794, a copy of that work having
been sold at the Rydal Mount sale in 1859. Bishop Wordsworth of St.
Andrews has also directed my attention to the following note to Pope's
translation of the _Iliad_, a copy of which his uncle possessed. Book
xxiii. 175.

"It was the custom of the ancients not only to offer their own hair, but
likewise to consecrate that of their children to the river-gods of their
country. This is what Pausanias shews in his Attics; _Before you pass
the Cephisa_, says he, _you find the tomb of Theodorus_, _who was the
most excellent actor of his time for tragedy; and_, _on the banks you
see two statues_, _one of Mnesimachus_, _and the other of his son_, _who
cut off his hair in honour of the rivers; for that this was in all ages
the custom of the Greeks_, _may be inferred from Homer's poetry_, _where
Peleus promises by a solemn vow to consecrate to the river Sperchius
the hair of his son_, _if he returns safe from the Trojan war_. This
custom was likewise in Egypt, where Philostratus tells us that Memnon
consecrated his hair to the Nile. This practice of Achilles was imitated
by Alexander at the funeral of Hephæstion."

It is likely that Wordsworth had read this note to the annotated edition
(1763) of Pope's _Homer_; but it is also probable that he was familiar
with the passage in Pausanias.


(See p. 303)

Many particulars regarding John Gough may be found in Cornelius
Nicholson's _Annals of Kendal_, pp. 355-368 (Whitaker and Coy., 1861).
He was born in 1757 and died in 1825. "Before the completion of his
third year, he was attacked with small-pox, which deprived him of his
sight. The whole globe of the left eye was destroyed: the damage done
to the other was not so extensive: for, though the greater part of the
cornea was rendered opaque, there was a minute pellucid speck to the
right of the pupil, which permitted a ray of light to fall upon the verge
of the retina, and thus he was enabled to distinguish between day and
night: but he had no perception of the form or colour of objects around
him; so that, for all useful purposes, vision was completely lost." But
his marvellous sense of touch, as described by Wordsworth, was in no
degree exaggerated. In his eighth summer, he began the study of botany;
and pursued it systematically in his thirteenth year. "His method of
examining plants must be briefly told. Systems of classification were but
little valued, except so far as they aided him in recognising individual
form. The plant to be examined was held by the root or base in one hand,
while the fingers of the other travelled slowly upwards, over the stem,
branches, and leaves, till they reached the flower. If the species had
been already met with, this procedure was sufficient for its recognition;
if it proved to be a novelty, its class was first determined by the
insertion of the tip of his tongue within the flower: thus he discovered
the number and arrangement of the stamens and pistils. When the flower
was small he requested his reader to ascertain these points with a lens.
The class and order being determined, the genus was next worked out, word
by word of the description, so far at least as the state of the specimen
would allow. But his perceptive power over form was most conspicuous in
the analysis of species. It was truly wonderful to witness the rapidity
with which his fingers ran among the leaves, taking cognizance of their
divisions, shape, serratures, and of the presence or absence of hairs.
The finest down was detected, by a stem or leaf being drawn gently
across the border of his lower lip; so fine, indeed, that a young eye
often required a lens to verify the truth of the perception. Another
peculiarity is worthy of notice. Repeated perusal of descriptions had
enabled him to prefigure in his mind's eye, the form without the presence
of specimens; so that, when a species for the first time came within
his touch, he at once named it from memory.... It was, probably, on one
of these occasions, that Mr. Wordsworth, while describing the little
cushion-like plant, with white roots and purple flowers, growing near
Grisedale Tarn, caught the first glimpse of that conception which was
afterwards expanded into the beautiful picture given of Mr. Gough in _The

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in his Essay on _The Soul and its Organs of
Sense_, refers to him as "not only an excellent mathematician, but an
infallible botanist and zoologist. He has frequently, at first feel,
corrected the mistakes of the most experienced sportsmen, with regard
to the birds or vermin which they had killed, when it chanced to be a
variety or rare species, so completely resembling the common one, that it
required great steadiness of observation to detect the difference, even
after it had been pointed out." "Good heavens!" added Coleridge, "why his
face sees all over!"

Gough died in the 69th year of his age; and he was buried, not (as
Wordsworth puts it in _The Excursion_) at Grasmere, but in the churchyard
of Kendal. What is more remarkable is that he lived for ten years after
_The Excursion_ was printed; and Wordsworth must have written the passage
in the Seventh Book referring to Gough in anticipation of his death,
probably 13 years before he died.

Mr. John Watson of Kendal tells me that he has had put into his hands a
MS. autobiography of Gough. Mr. Watson has himself written an interesting
sketch of the blind botanist.

See the passage in _The Excursion_, book vii. l. 492, etc., referring to


_Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, _Edinburgh_

       *       *       *       *       *

    |          Transcriber notes:                |
    |                                            |
    | Footnote 160: '814' changed to '1814'.     |
    | Fixed various punctuation.                 |

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