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Have followed; for such loss, I would be My former pleasures in the shooting lights lieve,

Of thy wild eyes.

Oh! yet a little while Abundant recompense. For I have learned May I behold in thee what I was once, 120 To look on nature, not as in the hour My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I Of thoughtless youth; but hearing often

make, times

Knowing that Nature never did betray The still, sad music of humanity,

The heart that loved her; 'tis her priviNor harsh, nor grating, though of ample lege, power

Through all the years of this our life, to To chasten and subdue. And I have felt lead A presence that disturbs me with the joy From joy to joy: for she can so inform 125 Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime 95

The mind that is within us, so impress Of something far more deeply interfused, With quietness and beauty, and so feed Whose dwelling is the light of setting With lofty thoughts, that neither evil suns,

tongues, And the round ocean and the living air, Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish And the blue sky, and in the mind of men, man;

Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor A motion and a spirit, that impels

all All thinking things, all objects of all The dreary intercourse of daily life, thought,

Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb And rolls through all things. Therefore Our cheerful faith, that all which we beam I still

hold A lover of the meadows and the woods, Is full of blessings. Therefore let the And mountains; and of all that we behold

Shine on thee in thy solitary walk; From this green earth; of all the mighty And let the misty mountain-winds be free world

To blow against thee: and, in after years, Of eye, and ear, - both what they half When these wild ecstasies shall be macreate,

tured And what perceive; well pleased to recog Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind nize

Shall be mansion for all lovely In nature and the language of the sense, forms, The anchor of my purest thoughts, the Thy memory be as a dwelling-place nurse,

For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! The guide, the guardian of my heart, and then, soul

If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief, Of all my moral being.

Should be thy portion, with what healing Nor perchance,

thoughts If I were not thus taught, should I the Of tender joy wilt thou remember me, 145

And these my exhortations! Nor, perSuffer my genial spirits to decay:

chance — For thou art with me here upon the banks If I should be where I no more can hear Of this fair river; thou my dearest Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes Friend,

these gleams My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I Of past existence - wilt thou then forget catch

That on the banks of this delightful The language of my former heart, and read

We stood together; and that I, so long
















A worshipper of Nature, hither came In these night wanderings, that a strong Unwearied in that service: rather say

desire With warmer love - oh! with far deeper O'erpowered my better reason, and the zeal

bird Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then for Which was the captive of another's toil get,


Became my prey; and when the deed was That after many wanderings, many years

done Of absence, these steep woods and lofty I heard among the solitary hills cliffs,

Low breathings coming after me, and And this green pastoral landscape, were to sounds

Of undistinguishable motion, steps More dear, both for themselves and for Almost as silent as the turf they trod. 325 thy sake!

Nor less when spring had warmed the

cultured vale, THE PRELUDE


plunderers where the (1799-1805)


Had in high places built her lodge; though From Book First Presences of Nature in Boyhood

Our object and inglorious, yet the end

Was not ignoble. Oh! when I have Fair seed-time had my soul, and I grew hung

330 up

Above the raven's nest, by knots of grass Fostered alike by beauty and by fear: And half-inch fissures in the slippery rock Much favored in my birth-place, and no But ill sustained, and almost (so it seemed) less

Suspended by the blast that blew amain, In that beloved Vale to which erelong

Shouldering the naked crag, oh, at that We were transplanted there were we let time loose

305 While on the perilous ridge I hung alone, For sports of wider range. Ere I had told

With what strange utterance did the loud Ten birth-days, when among the mountain

dry wind slopes

Blow through my ear! the sky seemed not Frost, and the breath of frosty wind, had

a sky snapped

Of earth and with what motion moved The last autumnal crocus, 'twas my joy

the clouds! With store of springes o'er my shoulder hung

Dust as

we are, the immortal spirit To range the open heights where wood


340 cocks run

Like harmony in music; there is a dark Along the smooth green turf. Through Inscrutable workmanship that reconciles half the night,

Discordant elements, makes them cling toScudding away from snare to snare,


gether plied

In one society. How strange that all That anxious visitation; moon and stars The terrors, pains, and early miseries, 345 Were shining o'er my

head. I

Regrets, vexations, lassitudes interfused alone,

Within my mind, should e'er have borne a And seemed to be a trouble to the peace

part, That dwelt among them. Sometimes it And that a needful part, in making up befell

The calm existence that is mine when I





Am worthy of myself! Praise to the end!

350 Thanks to the means which Nature deigned

to employ; Whether her fearless visitings, or those That came with soft alarm, like hurtless

light Opening the peaceful clouds; or she may

For so it seemed, with purpose of its own And measured motion like a living thing, Strode after me. With trembling oars I turned,

385 And through the silent water stole my

way Back to the covert of the willow tree; There in her mooring-place I left my

bark, And through the meadows homeward

went, in grave And serious mood; but after I had seen 390 That spectacle, for many days, my brain Worked with a dim and undetermined

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Of unknown modes of being; o'er my

thoughts There hung a darkness, call it solitude Or blank desertion. No familiar shapes

395 Remained, no pleasant images of trees, Of sea or sky, no colors of green fields; But huge and mighty forms that do not

live Like living men, moved slowly through the

mind By day, and were trouble dreams.


like one


to my

One summer evening (led by her) I

found A little boat tied to a willow tree Within a rocky cave, its usual home. Straight I unloosed her chain, and step

ping in Pushed from the shore. It was an act of

stealth And troubled pleasure, nor without the

voice Of mountain-echoes did my boat move on; Leaving behind her still, on either side, Small circles glittering idly in the moon, 365 Until they melted all into one track Of sparkling light. But now, who

rows, Proud of his skill, to reach a chosen point With an unswerving line, I fixed my view Upon the summit of a craggy ridge, The horizon's utmost boundary; far above Was nothing but the stars and the gray

sky. She was an elfin pinnace; lustily I dipped my oars into the silent lake, And, as I rose upon the stroke, my boat 375 Went heaving through the water like a

swan; When, from behind that craggy steep till

then The horizon's bound, a huge peak, black

and huge, As if with voluntary power instinct Upreared its head. I struck and struck

again, And growing still in stature the grim shape Towered up between me and the stars,

and still,


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for me

It was


Nor was this fellowship vouchsafed to Glanced sideway, leaving the tumultuous me

415 throng, With stinted kindness. In November days, To cut across the reflex of a star 450 When vapors rolling down the valley made That Aed, and, Aying still before me, A lonely scene more lonesome, among gleamed woods,

Upon the glassy plain; and oftentimes, At noon and 'mid the calm of summer When we had given our bodies to the nights,

wind, When, by the margin of the trembling And all the shadowy banks on either side lake,

420 Came sweeping through the darkness, spinBeneath the gloomy hills homeward I went

ning still

455 In solitude, such intercourse was mine; The rapid line of motion, then at once Mine was it in the fields both day and Have I, reclining back upon my heels, night,

Stopped short; yet still the solitary cliffs And by the waters, all the summer long. Wheeled by me even as if the earth had

rolled And in the frosty season, when the sun With visible motion her diurnal round! 460 Was set, and visible for many a mile Behind me did they stretch in solemn The cottage windows blazed through twi train, light gloom,

Feebler and feebler, and I stood and I heeded not their summons: happy time

watched It was indeed for all of us —

Till all was tranquil as a dreamless sleep. a time of rapture! Clear and laud

Ye Presences of Nature in the sky The village clock tolled six, I wheeled

And on the earth! Ye Visions of the about,

hills! Proud and exulting like an untired horse

And Souls of lonely places! can I think That cares not for his home. All shod

A vulgar hope was yours when ye emwith steel,

ployed We hissed along the polished ice in games

Such ministry, when ye, through many a Confederate, imitative of the chase

year And woodland pleasures, — the resounding

the resounding Haunting me thus among my boyish sports, horn,

On caves and trees, upon the woods and The pack loud chiming, and the hunted

hills, hare.

Impressed, upon all forms, the characters So through the darkness and the cold we

Of danger or desire; and thus did make flew,

The surface of the universal earth, And not a voice was idle; with the din

With triumph and delight, with hope and Smitten, the precipices rang aloud;

fear, The leafless trees and every icy crag

Work like a sea ?

475 Tinkled like iron; while far distant hills Into the tumult sent an alien sound

From BOOK SIXTH Of melancholy not unnoticed, while the

Down the Simplon Pass stars Eastward were sparkling clear, and in the Downwards we hurried fast,

And, with the half-shaped road which we The orange sky of evening died away.

had missed, Not seldom from the uproar I retired Entered a narrow chasm. The brook and Into a silent bay, or sportively










Into a lordly river, broad and deep,
Dimpling along in silent majesty,
With mountains for its neighbors, and in

view Of distant mountains and their snowy

tops, And thus proceeding to Locarno's Lake, 655 Fit resting-place for such a visitant. Locarno! spreading out in width like

Heaven, How dost thou cleave to the poetic heart, Bask in the sunshine of the memory.


Were fellow-travellers in this gloomy

strait, And with them did we journey several

hours At a slow pace. The immeasurable heights Of woods decaying, never be de

cayed, The stationary blasts of waterfalls, And in the narrow rent at every turn Winds thwarting winds, bewildered and

forlorn, The torrents shooting from the clear blue

sky, The rocks that muttered close upon our ears,

630 Black drizzling crags that spake by the

way-side As if a voice were in them, the sick sight And giddy prospect of the raving stream, The unfettered clouds and regions of the

heavens, Tumult and peace, the darkness and the

light Were all like workings of one mind, the

features Of the same face, blossoms upon one tree; Characters of the great Apocalypse, The types and symbols of Eternity, Of first, and last, and midst, and without






The Poet and the French Revolution I had approached, like other youths, the

shield Of human nature from the golden side, 80 And would have fought, even to the death,

to attest The quality of the metal which I saw. What there is best in individual man, Of wise in passion, and sublime in power, Benevolent in small societies, And great in large ones, I had oft re

volved, Felt deeply, but not thoroughly understood By reason: nay, far from it; they were

yet, As cause

was given me afterwards to learn, Not proof against the injuries of the

day; Lodged only at the sanctuary's door, Not safe within its bosom. Thus pre

pared, And with such general insight into evil, And of the bounds which sever it from

good, As books and common intercourse with

life Must needs have given -- to the inexperi

enced mind, When the world travels in a beaten road, Guide faithful as is needed – I began To meditate with ardor on the rule

That night our lodging was

a house that stood Alone within the valley, at a point Where, tumbling from aloft, a torrent

swelled The rapid stream whose margin we had

trod; A dreary mansion, large beyond all

need, With high and spacious rooms, deafened

and stunned By noise of waters, making innocent sleep Lie melancholy among weary bones.




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