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poem, above.

lation), where this matter is taken up as an opposite character" (from Wordspart of the whole subject of human im worth's note.) mortality; see also his “Phaedrus.” For 143. Fallings from us, vanishings: an example of the idea in previous Eng “I was sure of my own mind; everything lish poetry, see "The Retreat” of Henry fell


and vanished into thought” Vaughan (1622-1695).

(from a comment by Wordsworth). – (41.) 68-70. the growing Boy

in The root of this condition, and of his behis joy: In Wordsworth's account of his lief in immortality, was

"a sense of the own boyhood in “The Prelude,” the "celes indomitableness of the Spirit within me" tial light” may be traced; but in addition (from Wordsworth’s note). to delighted wonder, the discipline of ac 151. yet: still, i.e., in manhood; cf. tion and fear in his relations with nature "yet” in line 189. is emphasized (see lines 1-2, 410-414, 181. primal sympathy: This probpages 9-10).

ably comprises both his inborn feeling for 71-74. The Youth

attended: nature and his inborn “intimation of imCf. Wordsworth's feeling for nature in mortality.” See the remark on “natural youth as represented in “Tintern Abbey," piety” in the introductory note on this lines 65-85 (page 7).

103. humorous stage": humorous 183. In the soothing human means moody. The context shows that this suffering: Cf. “Tintern Abbey,” lines 90alludes to the speech beginning "All the 93 (page 8). world's a stage” in Shakespeare's (As You (43.) 202-203. To me the meanest flower Like It," II, vii, 139 ff.

for tears: i.e., by symbolizing some118-119. Thou, over whom thy im- thing of the human feeling mentioned in mortality etc.: Cf. the last six lines of the the preceding lines. See the first stanza sonnet "It is a Beauteous Evening,” page of the second poem “To the Daisy" (page 32.

34). (42.) 127-128: And custom as life: Notice the connected and cumulative suggestions of weight, cold, and depth. Com CHARACTER OF THE HAPPY pare the speech beginning. “That monster,

WARRIOR custom” in “Hamlet,” II, iv, 161 ff. — But whereas Shakespeare dwells also upon the "The course of the great war with the creative value of custom for the individual French naturally fixed one's attention upon life, the majority of writers from Words the military character” (from Wordsworth's time on, have emphasized only its worth's note). Compare the sonnet “I deadening effects: e.g., Emerson's essay grieved for Buonaparté," written four on "Self-Reliance," paragraphs 6-11. years earlier and exhibiting the same two

134, 139, 141, 148. not indeed For sided thought as the present poem. The
Not for
But for

But for:

poet's musings (1) upon public men, and These connectives indicate the structure of (2) upon his own and similar lives, Aow this involved sentence.

together here in a sketch of the spirit of 141-147. those obstinate question the ideal statesman for this, rather than ings etc.: “I was often unable to think of the narrower subject indicated by the title, external things as having external exist is the real theme of the piece. ence, and I communed with all that I saw

5. the plan boyish thought: a as something not apart from, but inherent high ideal of human service cherished in in, my own immaterial nature. Many boyhood. In this poem, as in the precedtimes while going to school have I grasped ing, “The Child is father of the Man,” at a wall or tree to recall myself from and the progress of a life from boyhood to this abyss of idealism to the reality. Ar

age is indicated. that time I was afraid of such processes.

15-16. a power

highest In later periods of life I have deplored, as dower: It is this power (what is it?) that we have all reason to do, a subjugation of draws together, throughout the remainder


of the poem, the different qualities of the “Happy Warrior," and the successive phases of his career.


(44.) 13. Who have too much liberty: Cf. “Ode to Duty,” lines 37-38 (page 38). This motive, together with the inAuence of Milton (acknowledged by Wordsworth in his note on the present poem), had drawn the poet's interest to the sonnet-form, which had been little used since the Renaissance.

“I wrote with the hope of giving it (the myth of Laodamia] a loftier tone than, so far as I know, has been given to it by any of the Ancients who have treated of it. It cost me more trouble than almost anything of equal length I have ever written.' (48.) 71. Erebus: here synonymous with Hades, the abode of the dead.

74-76. the Gods love: Cf. “Tintern Abbey,” lines 47-49 (page 8). This is the keynote of the present poem; compare the whole stanza with lines 139150.




(45.) 41-42. The gentle Lady milkwhite lamb: Desdemona in Shakespeare's "Othello;" and Una, a lady representing heavenly truth, in Spenser's "Faerie Queene," Book First, stanzas 4-5. For contrast with the personal themes of ordinary gossip, the poet names two that suggest purity, gentleness, and elevation.

can be:




For the development of Wordsworth's spirit and art, compare this sunset ode, written in the close of his great period, with the description of the sunset in “An Evening Walk” (page 1), written before he had found himself. (50.) 8. What is?

The scene reflects a higher beauty than can appear in external nature; cf. lines 34-40, 5354.

9-15. Time was when field etc.: Cf. Milton's "Paradise Lost," IV, 677-688. (51.) 43-46. You hazy ridges etc.: “The multiplication of mountain-ridges, described at the commencement of the third stanza of this ode, as a kind of Jacob's Ladder, leading to Heaven, is produced either by watery vapors, or sunny haze, in the present instance by the latter cause" (from Wordsworth's note).

61-80. such hues etc.: This stanza, as Wordsworth himself notes, is pervaded by allusions to the “Ode on Intimations of Immortality" (page 40).

5-7. The Sea -

sleeping flowNotice the particular image and mood conveyed in each of these three lines. (46.) 13-14. Proteus Triton: deities in Greek mythology. The poet would rather be an ancient pagan with a feeling for the divine meaning in nature, than modern materialistic Christian with none. Compare the two London sonnets (page 33).





This country was conquered by the French in 1798; and by 1807 Napoleon had mastered Europe, excepting England, , whose liberty he was planning to restrict.



(52.) 8-10. A privacy more divine:

"since God is Light, And never but in unapproached light Dwelt from eternity" ("Paradise

Lost," III, 3-5).

(47.) 3. thee: the poet's daughter, Catherine, long dead.


(52.) 10. Emma: the poet's sister, Dorothy.


the autumn of 1831. The season is worked into the mood of the sonnet (see lines 3, 11). Also, see the note on “AfterThought” (column opposite).


Like others (e.g., Spenser in "The Faerie Queene," Book Seventh; Shakespeare in “The Tempest,” IV, i, 148-158), Wordsworth felt more solemnly, as he advanced in middle age, the transitoriness of earthly things and persons,

"sad mortality's earth-sullying wing" (see "November 1,” page 47). An undertone of this goes through “An Evening of Extraordinary Splendor” (page 50), and "Laodamia” (see especially lines 68-72, page 48). (52.) 1. thee: The River Duddon.

(54.) 4-8. Far and wide etc.: Cf. “Tintern Abbey,” lines 4-8 (page 7). What other important images of Wordsworthian serenity do you recall ?-Different was Robert Burns (1759-1796), poet of restless passion. "It is remarkable that, though Burns lived some time here, and during much the most productive period of his poetical life, he nowhere adverts to the splendid prospects stretching towards the sea and bounded by the peaks of Arran on one part, which in clear weather he must have had daily before his eyes” (from Wordsworth's note).

9. random bield: chance shelter. The quoted words are from Burns's poem "To a Mountain Daisy, on Turning one down with the Plough,” which is alluded to throughout the remainder of this sonnet.

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7-8. slipping in between etc.: This phrase qualifies both "scene" and "tone" in the preceding lines.

13. The Mind's internal heaven : See the last stanza of “I Wandered Lonely” (page 38), and the note on that poem.


1. the royal Saint: King Henry Sixth (1421-1471), the founder of this college.


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this poem,

craving for vivid feeling is the ultimate the People's Charter, drawn up by Radiprinciple of life; cf. “Laodamia,” lines 74 cal and working-class leaders, demanded 75, 145-150 (page 48-50).

manhood suffrage and vote by ballot. (55.) 14-15. meekness truly great: (56.) 12. Pandorian gift: a punning alluCf. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall sion to the box of troubles opened by Paninherit the earth.” The word “meekness" dora, the classical Eve. has not here its negative meaning of pliant submissiveness, as in popular usage. It

WHO PONDERS NATIONAL means the hard attainment of inward hu

EVENTS mility and gentleness through self-control, which "the truly great” cherish as their Wordsworth is usually preoccupied leading principle (instead of the one men with the beautiful and orderly powers of tioned in the preceding note).

nature, as imaging the best in human na16-31. But who is innocent etc.: ture (e.g., “Ode to Duty,” lines 41-48, Is Wordsworth's view of nature in rela

page 38). Here, pondering in old age the tion to God and morality the same here, evils of national life, he thinks of nature's essentially, as in “Tintern Abbey,” lines

destructive forces (line 7). But he con93-111 (page 8), or different? Compare

demns the doctrine that similar forces also “Presences of Nature in Boyhood,”

operate as by natural necessity in human lines 401-414 (page 10); “Down the Sim

society. He intimates that man is most plon Pass," lines 624-640 (page 12); and "divine” (compare lines 5 and 13) when "The Recluse," lines 836-860 (page 19).

his "Will,” guided by “Conscience" and 25. that bounded field: the external

“Truth,” operates "to control and check Universe with all its beauties, as described

disordered powers.” — See the context of in the preceding lines. — Compare the view

in "Miscellaneous Sonnets of of serenity and peace given in lines 24-31 1842,” Numbers IV-VI, written in alluwith the view given in earlier poems; see sion to recent views of the French Revoluthe note Nature's Healing" (page

tion. The famous history of this event by 658, above).

Thomas Carlyle had appeared in 1837.

9-11. But woe - social havoc:

See “The Poet and the French RevoluPROTEST AGAINST THE BALLOT

tion," lines 162-163 and context (page 13). For the general standpoint, see lines 10-14 of the preceding poem. The spirit SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE of political conservatism grew very strong

(1772-1834) in England during the first quarter of the nineteenth century, owing to the excesses Son of a Devonshire clergyman, Colerof the French Revolution; and was shared idge in his childhood was addicted (so he by Wordsworth, Coleridge, and other of tells us) to dreaming, to sloth, and to pasthe elder writers. The spirit of liberalism sionate sensibility. Already the mind of — shared by Byron, Shelley, and other the future Transcendental philosopher and writers of the new generation — became poet was “habituated to the Vast;" he clamorous in the second decade. A Radi never regarded his senses, he adds, “in any cal party was formed in 1819; but no way the criteria of my belief.” Leaving signal effects were achieved until 1830. his country home before his tenth birthIn that year, revolutions occurred in day, he entered the old London school France and elsewhere, and the Whigs known as Christ's Hospital; and here he came into power in England. The Re formed a lasting friendship with his fellowform Act of 1832 (alluded to in lines 1-5 student Charles Lamb, acquired "a rage of this sonnet) shifted the balance of po for metaphysics," – reading precociously litical power in England from the landed in Voltaire and the Neo-Platonists, — and gentry to the manufacturers and mer dreamed, as he says in "Frost at Midchants. In 1838 (the year of the sonnet) night” (page 76).


“Of my sweet birth-place, and the old novelty to things of every day, and to exchurch-tower.

cite a feeling analogous to the supernatuIn October, 1791, while the National ral, by awakening the mind's attention Assembly was in its first sessions in from the lethargy of custom, and directing France, Coleridge began his college career. it to the loveliness and the wonders of At Jesus College, Cambridge, he adopted the world before us," Coleridge, on the the radical politics of the Revolution, con other hand, was to deal with “persons and tinued his voracious but desultory reading, characters supernatural, or at least roacquired debts, and suffered disappointed mantic, yet so as to transfer from our inlove. Unceremoniously leaving the Uni ward nature a human interest and a semversity after two years, he enlisted in

blance of truth sufficient to procure for regiment of dragoons; but, having "a vio these shadows of imagination that willing lent antipathy to soldiers and horses," he suspension of disbelief for the moment, presently returned to Cambridge, though in which constitutes poetic faith” (Biographia the end he left without taking a degree. Literaria, ch. 14). In a word, Words

With Southey, a youthful radical at worth was to render the natural magical, Oxford who ultimately became Poet Lau and Coleridge the magical natural. reate, he planned an ideal community or This division of the province of ro“Pantisocracy” to be established on the mance really constitutes a definition of the banks of the Susquehanna in America — divergent art of the two poets; and, a more a scheme that soon proved impracticable organic collaboration having been given up, and resulted only in the marriage of Wordsworth and Coleridge henceforth Coleridge and Southey to the Fricker sis made their attack upon custom, routine, ters, who were to have been their partners and the “meddling intellect," each in his in the enterprise. For Coleridge the union own way.

Within but a few months proved unhappy, more through his own Coleridge composed most of his best work, deficiency, it would appear, than through including, in addition to the “Ancient Mathat of Sarah Fricker, and during most riner," the first part of “Christabel” (page of his subsequent life he was rarely with 64), "Frost at Midnight” (page 76), his wife and children. In the main, the “Kubla Khan” (page 72), and “France: story of his later years is one of domestic An Ode” (page 74). The last of these, infelicity, poverty alleviated by gifts from written in February, 1798, and originally warm friends, abortive enterprises, frag- | published as “The Recantation,” marks the mentary accomplishments, mental depres extinction of Coleridge's enthusiasm for sion, physical illness, and “slavery" (his revolutionary France and his perception own word) to opium.

that Before the shadows of his life darkened,

“The Sensual and the Dark rebel in vain." however, there was one burst of golden happiness, – that idyllic year with the For some time previous his enthusiasm had Wordsworths in the Quantock Hills of been waning; when “Citizen” Thelwall Somerset. He loved Wordsworth, and visited him at Nether Stowey, rousing the admired his powers with unbounded en suspicions of orthodox neighbors, he had thusiasm; and daily intercourse, daily rhap found himself out of sympathy with his sodical confidences and speculation, in

friend's radical views and definitely movwhich the eloquent Coleridge doubtless did ing toward that conservatism which, as in most of the talking, at length made possi the case of Wordsworth, more and more ble “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" determined his outlook upon life. (page 56), — his chief contribution to When at length the Somerset idyll terLyrical Ballads and one of the master minated in the expedition to Germany, his pieces of the “renascence of wonder.” In years of poetic plenty were at an end. their plan for Lyrical Ballads the two Possessing, from childhood onward, strong poets divided the realm of wonder into religious instincts, fond of the Neoplatonic the natural and the supernatural. While mystics and of Boehme, Coleridge early Wordsworth was “to give the charm of became a Unitarian, even trying for a pas


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