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(1849) One lesson, Nature, let me learn of thee, One lesson which in every wind is blown, One lesson of two duties kept at one Though the loud world proclaim their en

mity Of toil unsevered from tranquillity! 5 Of labor, that in lasting fruit outgrows Far noisier schemes, accomplished in re

pose, Too great for haste, too high for rivalry! Yes, while on earth a thousand discords

ring, Man's fitful uproar mingling with his

toil, Still do thy sleepless ministers move on, Their glorious tasks in silence perfecting; Still working, blaming still our vain tur




Come away, away children; Come children, come down! The hoarse wind blows coldly; Lights shine in the town. She will start from her slumber When gusts shake the door; She will hear the winds howling, Will hear the waves roar. We shall see, while above us The waves roar and whirl, A ceiling of amber, A pavement of pearl. Singing: "Here came a mortal, But faithless was she! And alone dwell for ever The kings of the sea.”


Laborers that shall not fail, when man is






But, children, at midnight, When soft the winds blow, When clear falls the moonlight, When spring tides are low; When sweet airs come seaward From heaths starred with broom, And high rocks throw mildly On the blanched sands a gloom; Up the still, glistening beaches, Up the creeks we will hie, Over banks of bright seaweed The ebb-tide leaves dry. We will gaze, from the sand-hills, At the white, sleeping town; At the church on the hill-side And then come back down. Singing: “There dwells a loved one, But cruel is she ! She left lonely for ever The kings of the sea.”


(1849) "In harmony with Nature"? Restless fool, Who with such heat dost preach what

were ta thee, When true, the last impossibility; To be like Nature strong, like Nature

cool:Know, man hath all which Nature hath,

but more, And in that more lie all his hopes of good. Nature is cruel; man is sick of blood : Nature is stubborn; man would fain

adore: Nature is fickle; man hath need of rest: Nature forgives no debt, and fears no

grave; Man would be mild, and with safe con

science blest. Man must begin, know this, where Nature

ends; Nature and man can never be fast friends. Fool, if thou canst not pass her, rest her







Who prop, thou ask'st, in these bad days,

Didst tread on earth unguessed at.

Better so! All pains the immortal spirit must endure, All weakness which impairs, all griefs

which bow, Find their sole speech in that victorious


my mind?

He much, the old man, who, clearest

souled of men, Saw The Wide Prospect, and the Asian

Fen, And Tmolus hill, and Smyrna bay, though

blind. Much he, whose friendship I not long since

won, That halting slave, who in Nicopolis Taught Arrian, when Vespasian's brutal




Cleared Rome of what most shamed him.

But be his My special thanks, whose even-balanced

soul, From first youth tested up to extreme old

age, Business could not make dull, nor passion

wild; Who saw life steadily, and saw it whole; The mellow glory of the Attic stage, Singer of sweet Colonus, and its child.

God knows it, I am with you. If to prize Those virtues, prized and practised by too

few, But prized, but loved, but eminent in you, Man's fundamental life; if to despise The barren optimistic sophistries

5 Of comfortable moles, whom what they do Teaches the limit of the just ‘and true (And for such doing have no need of

eyes); If sadness at the long heart-wasting show Wherein earth's great

disquieted; If thoughts, not idle, while before me

flow The armies of the homeless and unfed ; If these are yours, if this is what you are, Then am I yours, and what you feel, I








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Others abide our question. Thou art

free. We ask and ask Thou smilest and art

still, Out-topping knowledge. For the loftiest

hill, Who to the stars uncrowns his majesty, Planting his steadfast footsteps in the sea,

5 Making the heaven of heavens his dwell

ing-place, Spares but the cloudy border of his base To the foiled searching of mortality; And thou, who didst the stars and sun

beams know, Self-schooled, self-scanned, self-honored,



France, famed in all great arts, in none

supreme; Seeing this vale, this earth, whereon we

dream, Is on all sides o'ershadowed by the high Uno'erleaped mountains of Necessity, Sparing us

narrower margin than deem. Nor will that day dawn at a human nod, When, bursting through the network superposed




We watched the fount of fiery life Which served for that Titanic strife.

By selfish occupation — plot and plan,
Lust, avarice, envy - liberated man,
All C ' 'nce with his fellow-mortal

closea, Shall be left standing face to face with



When Goethe's death was told, we said: 15
Sunk, then, is Europe's sagest head.
Physician of the iron age,
Goethe has done his pilgrimage.
He took the suffering human race,
He read each wound, each weakness

clear; And struck his finger on the place, And said: Thou ailest here, and here! He looked on Europe's dying hour Of fitful dream and feverish power; His eye plunged down the weltering strife,

25 The turmoil of expiring life He said: The end is everywhere, Art still has truth, take refuge there! And he was happy, if to know Causes of things, and far below His feet to see the lurid flow Of terror, and insane distress, And headlong fate, be happiness.


(1849) Children (as such forgive them) have I

known, Ever in their own eager pastime bent To make the incurious bystander, intent On his own swarming thoughts, an interest

own; Too fearful or too fond to play alone. Do thou, whom light in thine own inmost

soul. (Not less thy boast) illuminates, control Wishes unworthy of a man full-grown. What though the holy secret which moulds

thee Moulds not the solid earth? though never

winds Have whispered it to the complaining sea, Nature's great law, and law of all men's

minds? To its own impulse every creature stirs: Live by thy light, and Earth will live by








April, 1850

Goethe in Weimar sleeps, and Greece,
Long since, saw Byron's struggle cease.
But one such death remained to come;
The last poetic voice is dumb
We stand today by Wordsworth's tomb. 5

And Wordsworth! - Ah, pale ghosts, re

joice! For never has such soothing voice Been to your shadowy world conveyed, Since erst, at morn, some wandering shade Heard the clear song of Orpheus come Through Hades, and the mournful gloom. Wordsworth has gone from

us — and ye, Ah, may ye feel his voice as we! He too upon a wintry clime Had fallen - on this iron time Of doubts, disputes, distractions, fears. He found us when the age had bound Our souls in its benumbing round; He spoke, and loosed our heart in tears. He laid us as we lay at birth On the cool flowery lap of earth, Smiles broke from us and we had ease; 50 The hills were round us, and the breeze Went o'er the sun-lit fields again; Our foreheads felt the wind and rain. Our youth returned; for there was shed On spirits that had long been dead, 55


When Byron's eyes were shut in death,
We bowed our head and held our breath.
He taught us little; but our soul
Had felt him like the thunder's roll.
With shivering heart the strife we saw 10
Of passion with eternal law;
And yet with reverential awe



A fever in these pages burns Beneath the calm they feign; A wounded human spirit tur Here, on its bed of pain.



Spirits dried up and closely furled,
The freshness of the early world.
Ah! since dark days still bring to light
Man's prudence and man's fiery might,
Time may restore us in his course
Goethe's sage mind and Byron's force;
But where will Europe's latter hour
Again find Wordsworth's healing power?
Others will teach us how to dare,
And against fear our breast to steel;
Others will strengthen us to bear -
But who, ah! who, will make us feel?
The cloud of mortal destiny -
Others will front it fearlessly:
But who, like him, will put it by ?

Yes, though the virgin mountain-air
Fresh through these pages blows;
Though to these leaves the glaciers spare
The soul of their white snows;


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Keep fresh the grass upon his grave,
O Rotha, with thy living wave!
Sing him thy best! for few or none
Hears thy voice right, now he is gone.


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(1852) In front the awful Alpine track Crawls up its rocky stair; The autumn storm-winds drive the rack, Close o'er it, in the air.

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Behind are the abandoned baths
Mute in their meadows lone;
The leaves are on the valley-paths,
The mists are on the Rhone —

Yet, of the spirits who have reigned
In this our troubled day,
I know but two, who have attained
Save thee, to see their way.

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